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Canjo board hears about proposal

October 3, 2012
By ARTHUR CLEVELAND , The Leader Herald

CANAJOHARIE - Village board members listened Tuesday as a member of the Charter Commission explained the elements of the proposed Montgomery County Charter that is on the ballot in November.

Sitting in the Village Hall, James Post, Charter Commission member and mayor of Palatine Bridge, said the charter form of government would replace the current Board of Supervisors?- a form of government only three other counties in New York state have - with a body of nine legislators representing nine separate districts of around 5,000 people each, and one county executive.

"Most counties have adapted to something similar to this," Post said. "Basically, our current form of county government goes back to an early 1700s form of government."

Post also said they designed the charter to best handle issues of distinguishing between where a town official begins working for the county, summarizing that he feels it is difficult for some to do. Post also said that currently those working for the county have 15 bosses, which leads to some confusion. The role of the proposed county executive would be to provide a "day-to-day boss" who would handle the daily business of the county, including hiring and firing of employees. There also would be a limit of three terms for a county executive, lasting four years each. County legislators would have terms of three years.

Another change would be the removal of weighted votes, where some seats in the Board of Supervisors had more voting power than others. The charter would have one vote per legislator.

Post said that while the idea of a new charter has been discussed for several years, this is the first time it has appeared on the ballot.

"It takes the Board of Supervisors' support to get this far and they gave that support to the new charter," Post said, referring to the move in August to allow the charter to appear on this November's ballot.

Gail Coppernoll, village clerk, asked Post how much this measure would cost.

Post said that he could not answer that, stating that commission was not designed to save or spend money. However, he said there would be a need to establish an income for the county executive, but he said he was not sure what it would cost.

"That wasn't what the charter was about," Post said.

Ronald O. Dievendorf, trustee of the village board, asked if there would be any requirements for any of the elected positions.

Post said there would only be age requirements.



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