The ballot proposition to give the Schenectady City Council authority over employee contracts passed Tuesday.
The move will give the City Council sole authority to write and change employment contracts.
It passed with 53 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.
“I think it’s good for the city,” said Acting Mayor Gary McCarthy, who proposed the change. “It will clear up any ambiguity that has existed in the past.”
The change closes a loophole that Mayor Brian U. Stratton exploited when he paid then-Fire Chief Robert Farstad $117,000 to pad his pension last year.
Council members tried to stop him once they learned about it, but Stratton argued that he had the authority to offer benefits and other contractual items to employees.
The council turned to the charter to determine whether he was right. Corporation Counsel L. John Van Norden said the city’s charter was unclear — the authority appeared to be granted to both the council and the mayor.
With the charter change, the next mayor will still be able to hire at will — but the council will decide how much that person gets paid and what benefits are offered.
The unofficial vote on the proposition was 3,962-3,509.
That means hundreds of those who voted for the two mayoral candidates did not vote on the proposition. Due to the paper-size restrictions for the new ballot-reader machines, the proposition had to be printed on the back side of the ballot.
This was the first time in Schenectady that a proposition was not on the same page as the elected offices, but poll workers took pains to bring it to each voter’s attention. They handed out the ballots with the proposition on top and told voters they would be asked to register votes on both sides of the page.
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Categories: Schenectady County