On February 8, 2021, Chemung County’s Legislature voted 11-3 — with Legislators Mark Margeson, Bill McCarthy and myself voting no — to form a committee comprised only of sitting legislators to study legislative redistricting following the 2020 census as well as “governmental efficiency.”
The Legislature also voted 11-3* — again with Legislators Mark Margeson, Bill McCarthy and myself voting no — to authorize spending up to $48,000 for the Center of Governmental Research (“CGR”) to do the committee’s work of researching, analyzing and writing a report.
I wrote a detailed blog post about these issues yesterday, found here. In the post, I mentioned that there is a significant difference of opinion between County Executive Moss and members of the Legislature over how the $48,000 appropriation would be funded. I didn’t provide much background at that time because I hoped the Legislature would vote against an expenditure like this at a time when both local government and local businesses face significant economic hardship due to the pandemic.
However, the issue of who pays is now clearly relevant. The purpose of this post is to provide information to the public about it.
(Although the Legislature has 15 members, one was absent from the meeting.)
A video recording of last night’s meeting can be found here and is embedded below. The portions of the meeting that focused on the committee and consultant expenditure are found as set forth below.
Please note there was also a lot of interest from the public about a policy that outlines how matters come onto the legislative agenda. This Resolution also passed 11-3 with Legislators Mark Margeson, Bill McCarthy and myself voting no. I am not going to address that issue in this post, but have highlighted below where discussion of it can be found on the record.
- 4:36: Numerous “Public Comments” from community members about the three topics.
- 21:15: Discussion and vote to form the committee.
- 45:10: Discussion and vote to approve the $48,000 consultant expenditure.
- 1:08:09: Discussion and vote on the policy for setting the legislative agenda.
The Appropriation Issue
Throughout the past ten days there has been correspondence between County Executive Chris Moss/County Attorney Hyder Hussain (on behalf of the Executive Branch) and Legislative Attorney Bryan Maggs (on behalf of the Legislature) on this issue. The documents are embedded below in chronological order.
Although I don’t have a firm opinion, my sense is that the Legislature likely has the authority to make this type of appropriation – even though I strongly feel we should not do so. I will provide additional information as it becomes available.
As with all topics, please feel free to weigh in with your opinion here, on the Chemung County Matters Facebook page and/or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.