Revisions eyed for Albany County Charter

Committee formed to tackle review commission recommendations

— Legislators have formed a committee to evaluate what recommendations from the Charter Review Commission’s report should be implemented.

County Legislator Chairman Shawn Morse introduced the resolution to form the committee, which legislators approved Monday, April 14. The resolution stated “the hard work that resulted in the report warrants that a special committee” should be formed to consider the proposed revisions, which number in the hundreds and include reducing the size of the legislature by 14 members to total 25.

The seven Democrats and two Republican legislators appointed to the Charter Review Committee are Democrats Sean Ward, Thomas Cotrofeld, Justin Corcoran, Michael Mackey, Timothy Nichols, William Clay and Robert Beston, along with Republicans Lee Carman and Christine Benedict.

Cotrofeld said forming the review committee is a good way for the legislature to review proposed revisions.

“I think the committee is probably going to go through each suggestion with hopefully a fine-tooth comb,” Cotrofeld said, “and make sure it has the best interest of the county and taxpayers at hand.”

Mackey, who Morse selected to be committee chairman, said there are already a few recommendations he believes need to be tweaked.

“Most of what they did was very good, but a few issues here and there are some clear defects,” Mackey said.

Mackey pointed to the section addressing how vacancies for the elected positions of comptroller, county clerk, district attorney and sheriff would be filled. The revised charter has the county executive making those appointments, which county legislators would then have to approve.

“I don’t know why they did that, but it clearly is illegal,” he said.

Another revision he balked at was the proposal to codify every local law and resolution the legislature has ever passed. He said this level of codification could cost around $1 million. For local laws, he said, the recommendation makes sense.

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