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Chris

Return To Board Of Supervisors County Government?

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Chris    951

In a recent "Your Turn" column in the Star Gazette, former Elmira Mayor John Tonello writes that Chemung County should dissolve the County Legislature and return to a Board Of Supervisors. 

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Boards of supervisors serve dual roles: As supervisors, they manage the day-to-day business of their towns and are very much in tune with the challenges they face. They also bring their direct knowledge, personal voices and votes to all county business.

He also suggests getting rid of the County Executive position and have a County Manager:

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A county manager, like those in neighboring Steuben and Schuyler counties, would report directly to the board of supervisors and use his or her professional credentials to manage county business.

 

 

You can read the rest HERE

A while back I would have nixed the idea, but having thought about it some, I can see some merit to the idea. Our county legislator is pretty hands on, but he represents 3-4 townships. Maybe it would be best for the people of each township to have a direct representation. 

It could also save the county a LOT of money, since the supervisor is paid by the town, not drawing a county salary, insurance plans, etc. 

As for the County Executive position, again, I think there could be a plus side to the idea.

Of course I also doubt very much that the idea would ever gain any actual traction, it'd be like asking the current legislature to vote themselves out of a job. 

What do you think?

 

 

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Adam    19

I think a start would be a return to Board of Supervisors, economic savings aside, there would be much less political in fighting as there would be no more OUR attorney Vs. Their attorney type arguments, it would also return more input to the municipalities, while our own Legislator has been more than accessible, he is only one man covering a large territory.

it could be done, it would require a push by the public to put the onus on the Legislature to get them on record one way or the other

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KReed    442

I have believed in this a while now.

In terms of expense, just salaries for Legislature and exec branch are about a half million each year, before calculating in benefits). And that is not even considering the payroll and benefits for the supporting staff of each body.

With each municipality still having their individual supervisors, that is a huge redundant expense for a county that is considerably less affluent that the rest of the state on average.

image.png.5922413369818af048f3032953754f48.png

 

As both Tonello and Adam point out…the effectiveness of the charter model is woefully lacking. There are countless examples.

We don't hear much about it anymore, but Chemung County suffered a devastating flood in 1946 and had bounced back quite well by 1972 under leadership of the Board of Supervisors. We are still attributing Chemung County’s economic downturn on Hurricane Agnes, when it's likely that the change to this government should be given some blame.

 

35 minutes ago, Adam said:

it could be done, it would require a push by the public to put the onus on the Legislature to get them on record one way or the other

The past/current Legislature cannot seem to seek out and act upon public opinion for term limits and salary increases. You are correct that voting to eliminate their whole structure would meet with resistence.

It would be worth researching if a similar process to adopt the charter could be used to repeal it?

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Voter initiative. Under a procedure set forth in section 33 of the Municipal Home Rule Law, the voters of a county may petition the county legislative body to establish and appoint a charter commission. The petition calling for the creation of the charter commission must be signed by qualified voters equal in number to at least 10 percent of the votes cast in the county for Governor in the last gubernatorial election. In response to such a petition, the legislative body may create and appoint a charter commission on its own motion. Otherwise, the county legislative body is required by law to submit to a referendum the question of whether a charter commission should be established and appointed. If a majority of the votes cast on the question are in favor of the proposition, the legislative body must create a commission and appoint its members within two months following voter approval.

https://www.dos.ny.gov/lg/publications/Adopting_and_Amending_County_Charters.pdfhttps://www.dos.ny.gov/lg/publications/Adopting_and_Amending_County_Charters.pdf

I assume this 10% threshold was in effect in 1973 when this passed…..I would like to see the numbers of people who signed both the initial petition and the actual number of votes cast on the measure.

Considering we are talking about a point in time when many voters were struggling to recover from the 1972 flooding, I hardly think this was top priority – and if it was, a fair argument could be made that it was decided under duress.

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KReed    442

As to Tonello's other point:

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Some current supervisors might suggest the added duty of serving on a board of supervisors would make their jobs less appealing by requiring a larger commitment. For those, it’s time to bow out and make way for new leaders who want to do the work to make the county thrive.

I fully agree. It could also be considered that, without funds being diverted to pay current leg/exec expenses, these municipalies could explore a fair wage increase for the attending added 3 meeting a month that Legslators are required to sit in on for generous compensation. 

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Chris    951
1 hour ago, KReed said:

3 meeting a month that Legslators are required to sit in on for generous compensation. 

Or just decrease the amount of meetings. 

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Johnny Go    167

I think their recent proposal ro increase their opt out for insurance coverage ( for a part time job) shows who they really represent. 

Off with them, preferably on a rail. 

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