The Montgomery County Charter Commission began Wednesday night what it expects to be a four-month process that may result in drastic changes to county government.
The commission held it’s first meeting in the Old County Courthouse, beginning the process of drafting a proposed charter that may introduce an elected county administrator and possibly an elected county legislature.
Glen town Supervisor Larry Coddington began the meeting with a short talk on the long history of the effort to update the county’s system of government.
“This has been done three times in the past, and it didn’t go anywhere,” Coddington said, “but the time has come to make some changes.”
Montgomery County currently runs on a longtime structure of a board of 15 town and city supervisors running the county independently of an elected legislative branch or county administrator to manage the many county departments and employees.
A large part of Wednesday’s meeting was taken up with preliminary discussions, including introductions among the 10 members, nominating a chairmen — Fulton-Montgomery Community College President Dustin Swanger — and vice-chairmen, Jim Post, and settling on rules for discussion.
“I’d like to spend more time getting to the meat of the matter than on formality,” Phil Pierce said.
The commission decided if there is to be a county legislature, members should wait until after the three required public meetings to map out electoral districts.
“The public is going to be very important in this process,” former Amsterdam alderman and supervisor William Wills said. “We’ll come back from the meetings with an idea of how they want to be divided.”
Orrie Eihacker wondered if the extra layer of government would cost the taxpayer more.
“If it’s done right and we have the right county executive, the system should be more efficient and cost less,” Stark replied.
Future meetings will be held every other Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in the old courthouse and will be limited to an hour and a half.
“I think the meeting went well,” Coddington said. “We covered a lot of topics, and next time they are really going to get down to the nuts and bolts. They’ll have to.”
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Categories: Schenectady County