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Time to dispel myths about charter plan

October 31, 2012
The Leader Herald

People are saying a lot of things about the Montgomery County charter proposal that just aren't true. Let's dispel some myths:

Myth 1: "The charter will add another layer of government."

False. We already have a layer of government at the county - it's called the county government. Actually, the charter will reduce its size from 15 legislators and executives to nine legislators and one executive.

Myth 2: "The county executive will be a 'dictator.'"

False. The county executive was designed to be in charge of the day-to-day operations of the county. He has all the powers he needs to do that, no more, no less. There are numerous checks on the power of the executive in the charter to ensure that major policy, budgeting and personnel decisions go through the legislature. I've read all 21 New York state county charters, and I can tell you that powers the executive has are standard.

Myth 3: "My town or city government will change."

False. You will continue to elect your town and city government officials with no changes. The charter only affects the workings of county government.

Myth 4: "The charter will cost the county more money."

False. Many of the opponents of the charter are claiming it will make your taxes go up. That is a scare tactic. Think about it: If you wanted to torpedo something in Montgomery County, you would say the same thing.

A major concern of the charter commission was the cost of government. We designed a system that will maximize efficiency, minimize waste and reward fiscal responsibility. For the first time, we will have someone we elect at the county every day watching your tax dollars.

I'm confident government will cost no more under the charter and will ultimately cost less.

For more myths and answers about the charter, visit





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