Jump to content
Elmira Telegram

Chemung County Legislative Redistricting Discussion

Recommended Posts

In addition to contacting their own legislators, members of the public have spoken out on social media, written letters to the Star Gazette, responded to online polls, spoken at Legislature meetings and submitted public comments to the clerk on many topics that the Legislature has still refused to act on....term limits, legislator compensation/benefits, public participation ....and even live streaming was refused until the governor forced them to offer it. 

Clearly, most of them have no inclination to to voluntarily accommodate the will of the citizens.

Quote

A proposed charter or proposed revision of an existing charter may be prepared by or under the auspices of the county’s governing body directly or by a specifically appointed charter commission. The charter drafting process may be initiated by the governing body itself or by voter petition and referendum.

 

Quote

Voter initiative. Under a procedure set forth in section 33 of the Municipal Home Rule Law, the voters of a county may petition the county legislative body to establish and appoint a charter commission. The petition calling for the creation of the charter commission must be signed by qualified voters equal in number to at least 10 percent of the votes cast in the county for Governor in the last gubernatorial election. In response to such a petition, the legislative body may create and appoint a charter commission on its own motion. Otherwise, the county legislative body is required by law to submit to a referendum the question of whether a charter commission should be established and appointed. If a majority of the votes cast on the question are in favor of the proposition, the legislative body must create a commission and appoint its members within two months following voter approval.

 

https://www.dos.ny.gov/lg/publications/Adopting_and_Amending_County_Charters.pdf

Chemung County cast 30,464 gubernatorial votes in 2018...

So 3,047 signatures on a petition to form a Charter Commission and offer a referendum to amend the charter with "X, Y or Z" would trigger a mandatory action from the Legislature. The resulting referendum may or may not pass, but it would at least remind them that the body exists for the citizens - not for themselves. 

Unfortunately, that would take at least 30 people gathering 100 signatures each, and I just don't see that happening without solid support from a few people with community reach and influence (media, business leaders, activists or former elected officials, etc etc)....and a little experience with law or local government. 

Edited by MsKreed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MsKreed said:

In addition to contacting their own legislators, members of the public have spoken out on social media, written letters to the Star Gazette, responded to online polls, spoken at Legislature meetings and submitted public comments to the clerk on many topics that the Legislature has still refused to act on....term limits, legislator compensation/benefits, public participation ....and even live streaming was refused until the governor forced them to offer it. 

Clearly, most of them have no inclination to to voluntarily accommodate the will of the citizens.

 

 

https://www.dos.ny.gov/lg/publications/Adopting_and_Amending_County_Charters.pdf

Chemung County cast 30,464 gubernatorial votes in 2018...

So 3,047 signatures on a petition to form a Charter Commission and offer a referendum to amend the charter with "X, Y or Z" would trigger a mandatory action from the Legislature. The resulting referendum may or may not pass, but it would at least remind them that the body exists for the citizens - not for themselves. 

Unfortunately, that would take at least 30 people gathering 100 signatures each, and I just don't see that happening without solid support from a few people with community reach and influence (media, business leaders, activists or former elected officials, etc etc)....and a little experience with law or local government. 

should you decide to, i would gladly offer whatever help i could on my end. unfortunately all that work might possibly be for naught; remember the Chair of the Legislature solely decides what gets brought to the floor as well as IF it got that far, it would also be the very same members who are currently the problem deciding the make-up of said charter commission

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MsKreed said:

county legislative body is required by law to submit to a referendum the question of whether a charter commission should be established and appointed

From the way I read that, in the event that the threshold of signatures is met, the "if" part of holding a referendum would be out of the Chair's hands (even with the unjustified authority the Legislature has given him).  

I've no doubt that several would try their best to make any commission (and any subsequent proposals) as self-serving as possible ....and it's possible that just being compelled by citizens to submit the referendum at all (or do anything that wasn't their idea) would sting enough to start considering public interest more. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, MsKreed said:

In addition to contacting their own legislators, members of the public have spoken out on social media, written letters to the Star Gazette, responded to online polls, spoken at Legislature meetings and submitted public comments to the clerk on many topics that the Legislature has still refused to act on....term limits, legislator compensation/benefits, public participation ....and even live streaming was refused until the governor forced them to offer it. 

This is the most maddening aspect of all this. Some act like if it's not coming from someone who resides in their district and isn't received in a particular way that suits their fancy, the comment or concern doesn't matter. Me, I'm used to being ignored by them though in fairness my legislator did ask me to call him. I just haven't had the time. But I can't tell you how many other emails or messages have been ignored over the years. It's like they check the list of voters in their party, in their district before deciding to answer. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Chris said:

in fairness my legislator did ask me to call him.

hes actually quite responsive and does care(not just lip service for votes). was great help in grant for the park, intros to bldgs&grounds dpt, hell even got a personal intro to the Congressman when he had the town hall meeting up here a while back...i would definitely speak with him, in fact will be doing just that prior to next meeting in march

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can we please talk about this some more?

As noted above......Some citizens (particularly OUTSIDE the city) have expressed concerns that the City represents the MAJORITY of the 5-member “Legislative Redistricting and Efficiency of County Government Operations Advisory Committee”.  There was further concern that the objective of the Committee should be focused on LEGISLATIVE redistricting as outlined in the Charter (and mandated by SCOTUS in Reynolds v. Sims) rather than the vague (and somewhat dubious) question of “efficiency” to be derived from hiring a consulting firm to research the entire structure of government that the Charter defines.

 

After listening the audio and reviewing the minutes from the first two meetings of this committee, those concerns have deepened.  During the most recently published meeting on April 30th (HERE: Minutes dated May 3 ), it seems clear that the Committee has abandoned the legally MANDATED task of legislative redistricting and has instead dedicated itself to a self-serving mission to find ways to eliminate elected positions outside the Legislature (namely the County Executive and Treasurer).

 

The over half the meeting (HERE:  15 of 27 minutes ) was un-recorded "executive session" while they talked with their lawyer. The remaining 12 minutes included complaining that their CGR Consultant withdrew, ostensibly due to Moss's "push back" and then devising ways to claim "cost savings" of eliminating positions of duly elected officials' outside the body whose representation is ACTUALLY mandated to be reviewed. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven’t given a lot of thought to this issue in a while, so I’m sure many others haven’t either. Good call bringing it up again.

Last I recall, it sounded to me like they legislature was looking increase their “power” by eliminating the county executive position and replacing it with, for lack of better words, a lackey to do what they say.

Complete B.S. of course, but hardly surprising. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, Chris said:

I haven’t given a lot of thought to this issue in a while, so I’m sure many others haven’t either. Good call bringing it up again.

Last I recall, it sounded to me like they legislature was looking increase their “power” by eliminating the county executive position and replacing it with, for lack of better words, a lackey to do what they say.

Complete B.S. of course, but hardly surprising. 

Yes, that was the speculation when this topic was last touched upon, when the committee was first appointed. 

Reviewing the links in my previous post, it is no longer speculation.  It was overtly stated (after 15 minutes of secret discussion in Executive Session) that the agenda is to pursue ideas for an alternative form of government (i.e.: no elected Executive) instead of any work whatsoever toward the (legally mandated) task of reviewing legislative districts in relation to population. 

I sincerely hope this is brought to public light and weighed in by the public commentary at the next full meeting. I've begun to draft some thoughts to submit myself, but my personal obligations may not allow me to complete anything by the next meeting (which I know for sure I will be unable to attend).

Edited by MsKreed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

interesting that the may 30th "meeting" was a productive 12 minutes!

by the reading it certainly appears that they do in fact have it in for the Executive...if Mr. Smith is indeed interested in savings in the Budget, at risk of being broken record, then perhaps covering Legislators(part time position) with health insurance should be high priority for ending...since i do believe no part time employees are supposed to be offered or receive?

resolution 92-038

resolution 15-396

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had a chance to listen to the above mentioned recordings, I completely agree with MsKReed that this turned into an inappropriate attempt to misdirect this process to get rid of the Executive Branch and a power grab for the Legislature. 

There's a multitude of reasons why I am dead set against this, the largest one being attitudes put out there by legislators like Joe Brennan, who completely disregard any input except for those in their own district. 

I'd hoped we might have a completely clean slate and forward progress by the county government with the results of the 2018 Election. Unfortunately some completely disregarded what they told voters once they were elected. It's time to once again clean house. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was probably answered previously but can the legislature eliminated elected positions or would that be something that would have to be on the ballot for a vote?   I seem to recall having to vote for something like that at a village/town level at some point in my past.

I see my guy was not on board with this from the get go, which I am pleased about.  I should reach out and see where he stands and if any others have changed their initial position.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, KarenK said:

This was probably answered previously but can the legislature eliminated elected positions or would that be something that would have to be on the ballot for a vote? 

The Charter and New York's Municipal laws indicate that any changes to the elected positions are subject to a public referendum.

 

Either the actual legislative redistricting that is the duty of the body to address after each census (including eliminating or adding any legislative seats)....as well as this unrelated suggestion of eliminating county-wide elected position(s) that are completely separate from the Legislative task at hand. 

Not only is there a requirement for a public vote, the track record for coming up with what the voters want (without voter input) is poor.

Very poor. The voters of this county have historically opposed plans that the legislative body has attempted to thrust on them without public input and participation....carrying over to as many as three different election years before an acceptable plan has  been put on the ballot.  

 

It's extremely short-sighted (and arrogant) for some the legislators to keep insisting on excluding members of the public from the drafting process. Because that approach has failed so miserably for the past half a century....but this legislature has it all figured out and they know that they know what's best for their 'subjects'

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Public comment for the meetings of the Full Legislature may be submitted via email at: PublicComment@chemungcountyny.gov or by mail addressed to Chemung County Legislature  John H. Hazlett Building, 203 Lake Street P.O. Box 588 Elmira, NY  14902-0588.  All public comment received prior to the meeting will be read into the record. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MsKreed said:

Public comment for the meetings of the Full Legislature may be submitted via email at: PublicComment@chemungcountyny.gov or by mail addressed to Chemung County Legislature  John H. Hazlett Building, 203 Lake Street P.O. Box 588 Elmira, NY  14902-0588.  All public comment received prior to the meeting will be read into the record. 

Do you know when this topic is expected to be on the agenda for the full legislature to review/vote on?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, KarenK said:

Do you know when this topic is expected to be on the agenda for the full legislature to review/vote on?

Not sure...I would assume possibly not planned to be scheduled on the agenda until after the Committee concludes and recommends and the standing committee does what they do.

However, it seems like in the past, some committees have been disbanded early if/when the body discusses it further. Even when something isn't on the agenda, it seems like some groups/individuals have made an impact by reiterating their concerns at full meetings. 

I don't think it's a bad idea either way to bring topics up and get public opinion on the record at any and all meetings like others have done for topics they feel strongly about. 

Edited by MsKreed
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well...I sure didn't get a chance to email my thoughts - let alone attend in person last night to talk about it.

  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No minutes have been posted yet on the County Legislature webpage since the May meeting (where the committee seemed fixated solely on their "efficiency" agenda that focused on the self-serving goal of seeking to eliminate County wide elected offices of Exec and Treasurer).

However, the committee did hold a meeting last Friday, with a QA/proposal from Joshua Simons of the Benjamin Center for Public Policy Initiatives at SUNY New Paltz .

 

They voted to accept a proposal for a four-month project to create redistricting plan(s) for the Chemung County Legislature for $17, 000.

Video of that meeting found HERE

 

It seems there was also a December meeting that hasn't been noted on the Legislature page (Video HERE). I

 

 

Edited by MsKreed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

His podcast went up today

Podcast and documents

 

On a side note.....the  County webpage underwent a complete overhaul....so some previous links we've shared here may be screwed up, and for someone acquainted with the old page, it may be unfamiliar to navigate.

Edited by MsKreed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting Podcast ! Looks the County Executive is pushing back on some of the “ good ole boys “ that when confronted by their own words do a lot of stammering and circle talk ! 
And I do appreciate hearing the Executives take on the Legislators proposed resolutions. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, MsKreed said:

His podcast went up today

Podcast and documents

 

On a side note.....the  County webpage underwent a complete overhaul....so some previous links we've shared here may be screwed up, and for someone acquainted with the old page, it may be unfamiliar to navigate.

I like the new webpage.  Much easier to find things.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, KarenK said:

I like the new webpage.  Much easier to find things.

I agree....the look and layout are an improvement. 

The thing that I'm disappointed with is they didn't retain all the page path/structure or redirect to the new cloud location. So some existing links that are published (here, on print/TV news sites, social medial, etc) that pointed to County sources no longer work.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...