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Legislature Delays Vote to Schedule Hearing on Proposed Charter Amendments

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Legislature Delays Vote to Schedule Hearing on Proposed Charter Amendments

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Legislature postponed action to schedule a public hearing November 1st on proposed amendments to the Tompkins County Charter, following two years of line-by-line review of the Charter by members of the Legislature’s special Charter Review Committee.

Some Legislators expressed concern that Legislators needed to first hear a presentation from the committee on the recommended changes, and to have the opportunity to weigh in, before the hearing is scheduled, and the public needs to have the opportunity to review the revised draft. The vote to postpone passed by a vote of 10-3, with Legislators Jim Dennis, Glenn Morey, and Chair Mike Lane dissenting. (Legislator Leslyn McBean-Clairborne was excused.) The presentation is expected to take place at the Legislature’s next meeting October 18, and the impression was that the hearing, most likely, could still take place November 1st, presuming the Legislature at its next meeting agrees to proceed.

The Legislature reviews and amends the Charter every ten years. Among the committee’s recommended amendments are to change the County’s four public works divisions—Highway, Facilities, Airport, and Solid Waste—to County departments; to modify the designation of the Planning Department and its Commissioner to the Department/Commissioner of Planning and Sustainability; and to codify as part of the Charter an Independent Redistricting Committee, as was employed in redistricting following the 2010 Census. The recommended changes do not include any change in the position of Sheriff, which retains its elected status under the Charter.