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Proposed Charter Amendments Returned to Committee Following Public Hearing

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Proposed Charter Amendments Returned to Committee Following Public Hearing

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Legislature held a public hearing on the proposed Local Law to amend the County Charter, recommended amendments that are the result of exhaustive line-by-line review of the charter over the past two years.

Only one person spoke at the hearing. Sheila McHenry, chair of the Community Mental Health Services Board, read a statement from the board asking that wording changes in the proposed draft revert to prior wording, which McHenry said, is consistent with language in state law. The Board also supports the continued authority under the Charter to recommend the Commissioner of Mental Health Services, as is provided under state law. McHenry stressed this stand reflects no dissatisfaction with current leadership, but noted that, especially in the current system where both Health and Mental Health report to one director, having the Board of Health able to recommend a director and the Mental Health Services Board not able to do so, would set up an unequal structure.

Legislators voted 13-1 (Chair Mike Lane dissenting) to send the proposed law back to the Charter Review Committee to consider the proposed wording changes, which Public Health Director Frank Kruppa said may have inadvertently changed the intent of the language. Any change at the committee level may require another public hearing.