County legislature overrides county executive’s veto of charter

BY MICHAEL RICONDA 

NEW CITY – The County Legislature voted on Wednesday to override County Executive Ed Day’s veto of their bill approving a referendum of changes to the the county charter, potentially ending a drawn-out conflict between the two branches of government over how much to reform government functions.

The legislature narrowly approving the measure with a 12-to-4 supermajority, which will place a number of charter reforms on the ballot in November. Day vetoed the resolution last week because it lacked a number of priority reforms such as legislative term limits, a “two hat” rule prohibiting legislators from holding other local positions and special elections for legislative vacancies.

Ultimately, most legislators came to support the resolution. Legislator Harriet Cornell argued that in spite of Day’s objections, the reforms he desired could be added in at some point in the future.

“While there may be other things that the county executive would like to see changed in the charter, that can be done at a later date,” Cornell said. “It’s too late too add anything substantive and still have it voted on in November.”

Others argued the legislation progressed in a fashion which was hoped to satisfy all parties. Legislator Barry Kantrowitz stated the charter changes were the product of bipartisan negotiations which included the County Executive and considered anything aside from passing the question on to voters to be a “colossal waste of time.”

Legislator Jay Hood specifically challenged Day’s assertion the resolution constituted a “bad bill,” explaining that though it did not contain every item Day considered a priority, it still had substantial improvements to county functions.

“We changed things for the (Day) administration,” Hood said. “It’s not bad, it just doesn’t have everything that somebody wanted.”

Voting against the resolution were Legislators Joe Meyers, Christopher Carey and Douglas Jobson. Murphy sustained his vote while Legislator Nancy Low-Hogan was absent.