County Executive vows to continue push for county charter reform

BY MICHAEL RICONDA

NEW CITY – The County Legislature has approved its amendments to the county charter, but the debate over the inclusion of additional items is not yet over.

In an interview with the Rockland County Times, County Executive Ed Day expressed disappointment that the legislative version of the reforms did not include term limits, a “two hat” rule, or the elimination of legislative appointments to vacancies in favor of special elections.

Day explained that though he was glad to work with the legislature to straighten out the language of the resolutions, ensure the feasibility of the reforms and compromise for the sake of needed changes, those three issues are priorities for his administration.

“I was hopeful at the very least that they would be heard on the floor and be voted up or down,” Day said. “These items were not even discussed, they were not accepted for debate, and I do not think that was the best way to go.”

A slew of reforms to the county charter were approved at the July 1 legislative meeting. Most reforms, such as an October 1 deadline for County Executive budget proposals, the streamlining of certain budgetary processes and the creation of a Deputy County Executive and Legislative Vice-Chairperson, were approved without controversy.

However, the term limits, two hat rule, and special elections were conspicuously absent from the legislative proposal when it came up for a vote. Day argued the items were submitted to the legislature shortly before their hearing on the matter but likely blocked from consideration by legislative leadership.

Legislative Chairman Alden Wolfe stated at the time of passage that the items had been discussed during negotiations, but voted down before they reached the final version of the draft resolution.

With the legislation now on Day’s desk, he has thirty days to sign or veto the changes, after which they will be subject to a public referendum in November. Day made no indication whether or not he would approve the legislation, but indicated at least part of the commentary he intended to submit to the legislature would revolve around the additional items.

“I will make a considered judgment within the 30 day window and I will express those concerns to both the legislature and the people of the county.”