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County Executive & Legislature Disagreements

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Chris    951
2 hours ago, Adam said:

... it seems more and more that there is more of a game at play here than some on the Legislature would admit

 

It's crossed my mind a time or two that with Santulli now out of the way, the legislature is looking to assert themselves ( finally ) and a power play is in full effect. 

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Hal    218
4 hours ago, Chris said:

It's crossed my mind a time or two that with Santulli now out of the way, the legislature is looking to assert themselves ( finally ) and a power play is in full effect. 

Ah , but it already has been thier undoing to try getting one over on those that voted against the “ same old same old , politics as usual “ gang in the Legislature . Too many times do we hear , even on a Local Town and Village level , the old drudge that “ we have always done it this way “ , Past Practice does not make a good argument  ! Looks at first blush as though the Legislators need to read the same script before making public statements ... 

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KReed    442
Posted (edited)

It is telling that the first beef out of the gate over term limits is "we need to consider a grandfather clause".

How many incumbents are already into at least a third term already?

 

With coming back home it is tempting to start attending meetings and speaking up, but I have doubts that would be helpful. From how they behave on social media, I'm not getting the impression any of them want to respond to constituents so much as "broadcast" their own narratives.

 

Edited by KReed

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Hal    218
1 hour ago, KReed said:

It is telling that the first beef out of the gate over term limits is "we need to consider a grandfather clause".

How many incumbents are already into at least a third term already?

 

With coming back home it is tempting to start attending meetings and speaking up, but I have doubts that would be helpful. From how they behave on social media, I'm not getting the impression any of them want to respond to constituents so much as "broadcast" their own narratives.

 

But of course they will include “ grandfathering “ , right ? Gotta keep that pension and all the other benefits intact !  Im sure you notice as do i that the long term Legislators are being their usual quiet , stand back in the shadows , selves . Of course they have Ms Sonsire as the outspoken sacrificial lamb now , while they are usually shown as just “ head bobbing “ ! 

Now all that said , I support County Executive Moss , and although not happy with money being thrown around paying for this whole fiasco , I do look forward to the Courts decision and fervently hope it skews to Moss’ favor as I think the Legislators need a shot of humility . With a lesson on working within the parameters of the County Charter without all the sideways legal mumbo jumbo that seems to have appeared this term . 

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Chris    951
9 hours ago, KReed said:

With coming back home it is tempting to start attending meetings and speaking up, but I have doubts that would be helpful. 

I gave up on going to local meetings. For one, I found it frustrating anyone rarely even looks at you while you're talking. Hell, sometimes they back is towards you. And it's simply not worth the stress of listening to people spend an hour on the the simplest minutiae such as the definition of "is".

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KReed    442
Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, Chris said:

I gave up on going to local meetings. For one, I found it frustrating anyone rarely even looks at you while you're talking. Hell, sometimes they back is towards you. And it's simply not worth the stress of listening to people spend an hour on the the simplest minutiae such as the definition of "is".

Funny you should mention them being disinterested in what the public has to say. 

 

Speaking at a Legislature meeting in 2006 was the last thing my Dad ever did. Shortly after he started talking, he choked, stopped breathing and flatlined right in front of them all. He was revived by EMT only to die again 2 days later.

One person from the Legislature inquired about his condition in that 2 days (and another paid respects when he passed). And astonishingly the one who visited the hospital inquired not only about his condition..... but also wanted to know the issue/concern he'd been at the meeting to discuss. 

 

That one who actually cared meant a lot....more than I can articulate. But out of the whole bunch?  Less than 7% is not a number that instills a lot of confidence that the body as a whole gives half a shit what we have to say. 

Edited by KReed
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Adam    19
37 minutes ago, Chris said:

It just keeps going, and going, and...

 

Screenshot_2019-05-01-20-48-07.png

i refer back to my 4/2 comment

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Johnny Go    167

Sonsire decides the law concerning the county charter is meaningless, and has fully supported the illegal action of passing local law to override the charter without a public referendum.

Sonsire has decided her power is much greater than the power of the people she supposedly chose to represent.

Moss is rightfully challenging the legislature to follow the law of the land.  It is unfortunate that this has come to this, but without laws then we are all in trouble. 

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KReed    442

I think any committee to update the Charter should include citizens as well as legislature and executive members.

Maybe that's just me.  I'm also someone who questions that charter being adopted in the first place......while the county was in the midst of trying to recover from a natural disaster (one might say the whole plan was decided by voters under duress - or too busy to vote against it).  Not only were most residents too distracted from flood recovery to participate in drafting it, it seems like any positive governance and progress in the County ground to a halt when the charter went into effect.  

 

We are still waiting for this wonderful form of government to dig us out of the damage to the economy and community.  1972 was not our first flood. Under the previous county government model, Chemung County recovered (and boomed) after the 1946 disaster.

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Chris    951

I've wondered if some of the legislature has seen an opportunity for a power grab but wasn't completely convinced. There's less and less doubt as this thing continues to play out. 

Additionally, there's still some normally very vocal people who have suddenly clammed up, leading me to wonder which way they lean in all this. 

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KReed    442

I mentioned back in the beginning of March that I’ve been disappointed in both of them (after truly having a lot of confidence in both Moss & Sonsire during their campaigns).

The bickering is made worse that none of these people want to reply to each other (or the constituency) in any consistent media/location. Instead we see this one posting one-sided letters on this social media and that one responding in a monologue blog over on another site.

Enough already! 

 

Why can’t any of them display the professionalism to conduct a public discussion with dialogue between them – and maybe bring the public into it so they can see how disgraceful we find this pettiness?

Give them a forum here to have an open discussion. Or see if a local station will offer up a 30 minute slot on slow Sunday morning to hear our “representatives” address questions/comments from the public.

 

But for Gawd Sakes, please stop behaving like a bunch of teenage girls sniping at each other on your respective social media platforms. The teenage girls look far more mature.

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Johnny Go    167

Once again Sonsire has failed to address the violation of the NYS home rule law which requires a public referendum to bring about a change in the charter. Noticed how she danced around that issue in her response. 

This, pure and simple, is an affront to the citizens of this county, it is the ploy of a group of power hungry tyrants, not a group of civic minded legislators. The fact Sonsire proposed this illegal action ams supports it should bring about questions of her qualifications to be a NYS bar attorney. 

Or is time to file a complaint with the bar association. 

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Adam    19
4 hours ago, Johnny Go said:

Once again Sonsire has failed to address the violation of the NYS home rule law which requires a public referendum to bring about a change in the charter. Noticed how she danced around that issue in her response. 

This, pure and simple, is an affront to the citizens of this county, it is the ploy of a group of power hungry tyrants, not a group of civic minded legislators. The fact Sonsire proposed this illegal action ams supports it should bring about questions of her qualifications to be a NYS bar attorney. 

Or is time to file a complaint with the bar association. 

apparently they seem to have found a work around the public; it is a permissive referendum meaning if a petition of signatories is submitted in an alotted time, it would go up for referendum, otherwise they get what they want

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KReed    442
30 minutes ago, Adam said:

apparently they seem to have found a work around the public; it is a permissive referendum meaning if a petition of signatories is submitted in an alotted time, it would go up for referendum, otherwise they get what they want

That’s a disturbing twist that leaves me with lots of questions.

For starters, can you expound on the source you heard this from?  What law or legal process is it based on, what is required for the referendum, and what exactly "is" the time frame? This whole childish mess is rife with so many assertions from different politicians, I’m guessing this "work around" has more than one interpretation on the legality of what they can or can't do.

On another note….I wonder if there is some process for a public initiated petition to propose and vote on a new charter and/or changes to the existing charter?  

This nonsense of disregarding the concerns of the people they are supposed to be serving needs to stop.

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Although I am a big fan of the Elmira Telegram as it fills a much-needed gap in reporting on local issues, I had not read any of the discussion threads on this issue until this morning when I happened to find them. 

Just to address a few points raised in this one...

1. I cannot wait for the litigation to be heard in court so that we can all move on. Many of the questions regarding the law and charter have been fully briefed in our papers (embedded in one of my recent blog posts) and will hopefully be answered by the judge when he renders a decision. The hearing was supposed to be held this week but a request from County Executive Moss’s attorney for an extension has pushed it back to July 19th. 

2. I am happy to discuss any of these topics in public in an online forum like this or in person. I held one Town Hall on April 3rd where I raised the topics and invited questions, and will have another on June 15th from 11-12 at the Town of Elmira Community Center. The Town Hall Meetings are open to the public and all questions are welcome. I am also willing to participate in other ways if they become available. 

3. Please keep in mind how this all started. In a meeting Moss told the Legislative leadership he was firing our lawyer and gave us a letter indictIng such. We asked what we could do to work through this short of litigation, and he said the only option was court. I fully agree with many of you that this is a distraction, and my personal remedy is to take proactive steps on lots of other things that matter rather than focus on this mess. 

4. I also agree it is time to take up the Term Limit issue, something I fully support. It took Mark Molinaro and the Dutchess County Legislature two years to work through the specifics, but I don’t see why we cannot have something much sooner - certainly within the year. I asked to meet with the Chair and Vice Chair of the Legislature last week to discuss this issue. My sense is that there will be an Agenda item related to a Term Limit Committee for us to review later this month.

5. I also agree the pay and benefits for legislators is far too high. I was outspoken during the budget process last year about this, and will do so again in the fall. I was entitled to a $1,500 payout because I declined the county health insurance benefit, but I did not take it. I also declined to join the county retirement system. In other words, I did not take any of the offered benefits that come along with this position as I feel they are inappropriate. However, I do think the health insurance piece needs to be handled carefully as it may be unfair to take health insurance away from legislators who ran believing they would receive it and now rely on it. On my opinion this is a tough that requires thoughtful analysis.

6. It is interesting to get push-back regarding live-streaming as it seems to be well received by most people. I agree the quality would be much better with more sophisticated equipment. Hopefully the county will begin providing the service soon. Please let me know if you have any ideas for how I can improve things until then.

Finally, I am doing what I can to be as transparent as possible. The only obstacle for me is time, as I am also a full-time lawyer and am raising two young children. As I am sure Chris Sherwood knows, running sites like this is a ton of work. My blog is only about 1/50th of what he does, part of the reason I am so impressed by him!  

If any of you ever has any questions you can reach out to me in a number of ways - email, FB message, my blog etc - or even call me at 731-9564. Please keep in mind that I am brand new at this, and am finding the learning curve is a lot steeper than I anticipated. I appreciate any feedback you have about ways we can do things better.

Finally, someone recently remarked that elected officials are just placeholders, as the seats will long outlive the individuals. I will be a legislator for a term or two, and the someone else will take over. All I can do is try my best while I am in there and then hand the seat over to the next. Perhaps someone on this thread will be just that person.

 

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Chris    951

Thanks for joining the discussion Christina. I think this marks the first time an elected official has openly commented on here, at least that I can recall. 

What is the process for the county to get the equipment and everything up and running to live stream the meetings? Seems to me it'd be a pretty simple thing to make happen, yet it hasn't. 

 

 

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This is one of the first issues I raised with Chairman Dave Manchester as far as crafting a issue-based resolution What he told me and I believe to be true is that in January or early February  members of the IT Department came up to the 5th Floor and took measurements, etc for equipment. He also told me Moss is taking the lead on this.

As such, I have deferred action as I have been anticipating something coming up from Moss - though it has not yet.

As I mentioned here and in my blog, I cannot wait for the county to take over! I had to increase my data plan for a decent cost as Wi-Fi can be unreliable, it is distracting for me to have to think about recording when I am in the meetings, and audio-visual quality will be better when it is done with something other than an iPhone. My thought is I will do something proactive on the issue unless we have an Agenda item from Moss by the six-month mark.

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Adam    19
10 hours ago, KReed said:

That’s a disturbing twist that leaves me with lots of questions.

For starters, can you expound on the source you heard this from?  What law or legal process is it based on, what is required for the referendum, and what exactly "is" the time frame? This whole childish mess is rife with so many assertions from different politicians, I’m guessing this "work around" has more than one interpretation on the legality of what they can or can't do.

On another note….I wonder if there is some process for a public initiated petition to propose and vote on a new charter and/or changes to the existing charter?  

This nonsense of disregarding the concerns of the people they are supposed to be serving needs to stop.

There is either a permissive referendum or mandatory referendum. Which one is applicable and when can be found within the County charter, admittedly i had to google to learn the difference between the two, but the main info is in the charter. i did also reach out to the Exec and a few Legislators asking why not just all agree to put the issue to mandatory referendum, let the voters settle the issue instead of a judge and be done with it; those that answered back, for the lack of a better description, did not seem interested.

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The permissive v mandatory referendum argument is set forth in the papers I cited above. 

I don’t have any issue with a public referendum. The tricky part would be framing the issue as it seems to have shifted from whether or not the Legislature should have its own attorney to a question about the attorney’s duties. 

As I said above, no one on the Legislature that I am aware of wanted litigation, but it’s now underway and I think all of us are doubting the days until it ends as it is a major distraction.

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On additional small point from this thread.

 

With respect to the notion that someone lied about the term limit discussion, Manchester’s reply to Moss was oral and not put in writing according to what Manchester told me. I learned about the exchange right after it happened and nothing I have seen or heard since points to it being untrue.

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