Two of the Legislature’s powers were in the spotlight tonight during the Personnel Committee’s meeting, including its ability to fix certain salaries and confirm appointments made by the County Executive.
Both powers are laid out explicitly in Chemung County’s Charter, found here.
The power to fix salaries is found in Section 203(h):
The power to confirm executive appointments is found in Section 309:
A review of the Personnel Committee’s Agenda, found here (click HTML), shows that executive-sponsored Resolutions 21-27 all deal with appointments and salaries for which the Legislature has direct oversight based on the Charter provisions set forth above:
- Res. 21: David Sheen as Deputy County Executive; salary reduction of $145,188 to $123,332 (10%)
- Res. 22: Mohammed Hussain as County Attorney; salary of $74,973 with no change
- Res. 23: Steve Hoover as Director of Budget and Research; salary reduction of $127,728 to $114,623 (10%)
- Res. 24: Tom Freeman as Interim Director of Aviation; salary reduction of $127,728 to $114,623 (10%)
- Res. 25: Steve Wilbur as Director of Information Systems; salary reduction of $102,620 to $92,358 (10%)
- Res. 26: Andrew Avery as Commissioner of Public Works; salary
reduction of $130,382 to $117,344 (10%)
- Res. 27: Vincent Azzarelli as Director of Public Information; salary increase of $56,586 from $72,925 (29%)
Unfortunately, the Legislature was not provided with any supporting information about the new appointees (Hussain, Freeman, Azzarelli) or the underlying data supporting the proposed salary changes.
As such, I moved to table all of the appointments and salary changes until next month so that the information we need in order to properly vote could be provided.
Under certain timing rules laid out in the Charter, the Legislature has until its February 11th Full Meeting to decide on these personnel issues. I feel it is very important to have time to do our due diligence so that we have as much information as possible before voting.
The Charter further states that all executive appointees can act in their roles as county employees from when they are appointed until the Legislature acts, therefore giving us five weeks to study these issues and receive communications from County Executive Moss without causing any detriment to the functioning of county government.
Similarly, I moved to table several appointments made by Chairman Dave Manchester and Executive Moss because no information was given to support their choices of citizens to sit on various boards, including the following:
- Res. 9: Mark Watts to the Chemung County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board (Manchetser)
- Res. 10: Joe Valaent to the Catskill Regional Off-track Betting Corporation (Manchester)
- Res. 12: David Boor, Joel Klose, Thomas Rhodes and Richard Gunderman to the Chemung County Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Directors (Moss)
- Res. 13: Michael Collins, Ernest Hartman, Randy Reid and G. Thomas Tranter, Jr. to the Southern Tier Central Regional Planning and Development Board (Moss)
- Res. 14: Joe Colletta to the Chemung County Planning Board (Moss)
- Res. 15: Ronald Panosian, Henry M. Dalyrmple, Mary Jo Yunis, Robert L. Lewis to the Chemung County Planning Board (Moss)
- Res. 18: Donald W. Zeigler to the Chemung County Sewer District No. 1 Administrative Board (Moss)
Finally, I moved to table a resolution appointing Leg. Rodney Strange to the Southern Tier Economic Growth (STEG) Project Review Committee. Legislator Strange was appointed to the Committee last April but it never formed as has yet to meet. It seems the reasonable thing to do is wait until such time – if ever – the Committee is created, and revisit the matter then.
As it turns out, none of the motions even got a second except for the one regarding STEG. Instead, the Personnel Committee approved all of the appointments and asked that County Executive Moss provide us with more information ahead of a final vote on these issues next Monday, January 14th at 7:00 by the full Legislature.
A video of tonight’s meeting is found here. The Personnel Committee portion begin as 44:53.
These are very, very important votes. Please chime in here, on the Chemung County Matters Facebook page or reach out to me and/or any other legislator with your thoughts and ideas.
Of note, the composition of the Personnel Committee was changed sometime shortly before the meeting. Originally its members had included the following legislators:
- Marty Chalk (Chairperson)
- John Pastrick
- Brian Hyland
- Christina Sonsire
- Bill McCarthy
- Scott Drake
- Mike Smith
However, Bill McCarthy has been removed. I do not know why the change was made, but am aware it was not Leg. McCarthy’s desire to be taken off the list.