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Informational sessions slated on county charter plan

October 12, 2012
By ARTHUR CLEVELAND , The Leader Herald

AMSTERDAM - Montgomery County Charter Commission Chairman Dustin Swanger announced an outreach campaign Tuesday to share information about the proposed county charter, which will appear on the ballot in the November elections.

With three public meetings scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 24 and Oct. 25, the Charter Commission hopes the meetings will provide "factual, authoritative answers from the people who wrote it" about the charter's proposed overhaul of county government, according to a news release.

"When we presented the charter to the supervisors, they told us that they expected us to explain the proposal to the voters," Swanger said. "We want to do that in every possible way."

Palatine Bridge Mayor and commission Vice Chairman Jim Post said the meetings will be to inform the public, not necessarily to "sell" the idea.

"We want to answer voters' questions about the charter," Post said. "We want to give them the facts and let them make their own decision."

The charter calls for nine district legislators who would be elected to serve three-year terms. A limit of four consecutive terms would be placed on each legislator. The legislators' job would be to cover all matters related to legislation, spending and policy for the county.

A county executive would be elected for a four-year term, with a maximum term limit of three consecutive full terms.

The executive post would be a full-time position, with a rule in place saying the executive would hold no other elected public or political office during his term.

The executive's powers and duties would include responsibilities such as executing and enforcing all laws and resolutions of the legislature and exercising supervision and control over all administrative departments, offices and agencies of the county government.

The executive would have the ability to approve and veto any votes by the legislature. The executive also would appoint all non-elected officials. Appointments would need the support of the legislature.

Bill Wills, former Amsterdam Supervisor and Commission member, said most people do not know much about county government or the charter proposal.

"I believe that when they learn about it, people will say, 'that makes sense,'" Wills said.

"I think there are some myths out there that need to be addressed," Swanger said.

He stressed that the charter would not add another layer of government, and the county executive would not be all-powerful.

"Its not like we came up with some scheme for a grand czar," Swanger said.

The meetings are scheduled for Wednesday in Amsterdam City Hall, Oct. 24 in the Glen Town Hall and Oct. 25 at the Canajoharie Town Hall - all starting at 7 p.m. For more information, see or find the commission's page on Facebook.



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