On Nov. 6, Montgomery County voters will be asked to cast their votes on a proposition to change the form of Montgomery County's government. Montgomery County has operated with a board of supervisors form of government for many years.
Earlier this year, the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors appointed a Charter Commission to draft a change to the county's charter to create a county legislature form of county government. The Charter Commission recently completed its work and submitted its recommended charter change to the Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors has decided to put the charter proposal up for a vote this November.
The CEO Roundtable recently discussed the proposed charter change to create a county legislative form of county government. We applaud the work of the commission that spent considerable time and effort to prepare a comprehensive charter proposal.
The CEO Roundtable members firmly believe that government is owned by the people; in this case, the residents of Montgomery County. Therefore, we praise the Board of Supervisors for sending the proposed charter to the people to decide this November. This is truly democracy at work.
The CEO Roundtable is not taking a position in support or in opposition to the proposed charter. The CEOs, however, strongly encourage every voter in Montgomery County to read about the proposed charter change and fully understand what it means. It is critically important for voters to cast informed and not emotional votes. We encourage voters to read the proposed charter at www.co.montgomery.ny.us. If you do not have access to a computer, call the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors' office at 853-4304 and find out how you can review a copy.
Here are a few highlights of the proposed charter changes:
The proposed charter would create a county legislature form of government instead of the current Board of Supervisors. A county legislature would not be a new level of government.
The proposed legislature reflects a structure that currently exists in numerous New York state counties.
The proposed Legislature would consist of nine elected legislators from nine legislative districts.
The proposed charter would create an elected county executive. The executive must be a resident of Montgomery County. The executive would work with the legislature to enforce the laws regulations approved by the legislature and to oversee the day-to-day operations of county government.
The proposed charter would create a system of checks and balances between the county executive and the county legislature.
The proposed charter would maintain an elected county treasurer.
The proposed charter would not change the existing structure of any city or town government in Montgomery County.
The CEO Roundtable encourages every voter to understand what this proposed charter change means and to vote in an informed manner. The foundation of government in the United States is one of government of the people, by the people and for the people. This founding principle is what makes our country special. Please vote on Nov. 6 and make it an informed vote.
Dustin Swanger, a guest columnist, was the Charter?Commission chairman.