"The business community and voters of Saratoga Spring have waited for more than 20 years for the opportunity to vote on a more efficient and effective city government. Our commission form of government has amounted to paralysis and gridlock regardless of what political party has the majority. The charter commission respectfully asked the chamber board to sponsor education sessions for its almost 3,000 members so they could become fully informed and make their own decisions. But, sadly, the chamber board refused," said O'Connor.
The dispute comes as both sides of the issue are padding their coffers. Last week, Mayor Valerie Keehn and former Mayor A.C. Riley hosted a fundraiser at the Inn at Saratoga for the pro-charter reform group Move Saratoga Forward. The event was attended by more than 90 people.
This week, local entrepreneur Elliot Masie has pledged to spend up to $20,000 to combat the proposed charter revisions.
"It's an absolutely rushed and non-open process and way too important if we're going to make significant change," Masie said. "I'm against the strong mayor role. It concentrates too much power in one person. I don't think the business community's been engaged in this process."
Masie said he's already given money to Saratogians United to Continue the Charter Essential to Sustain Our Success (SUCCESS), a group of residents opposing charter reform, and said he may buy advertisements to further their cause.
Masie's wife is on the board of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, but was not present at its special meeting Monday at which it voted to not support the charter change referendum.""