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Amsterdam, NY ,



Charter review commission approved

Saturday, April 19, 2014 - Updated: 4:08 AM


The Amsterdam Common Council unanimously approved the assembly of a charter review commission this week and appointed seven members.

Mayor Ann Thane has been adverse to the council's process that constructed the commission, and said she may organize her own.

"I've had several people suggest that I should, and that they'd like to serve," Thane said Friday evening. "These are folks from both sides of the aisle that represent a broad range of ages and backgrounds. I am considering this action."

The Common Council on Tuesday appointed former corporation counsel Robert Going as chairman, Jerry Skrocki, Marie Gavry, former mayor Mario Villa, Jeff Chase, Water Plant Chief Operator Robert DiScenza and local Realtor Michael Sampone.

As of Friday night, Thane did not sign the resolution enacting the council's commission. She said she's weighing her options on whether she will veto it.

Fourth Ward Alderwoman Diane Hatzenbuhler said that because Thane did not return the resolution to the city clerk's office, Going is holding off on calling a meeting. The first would have been Thursday, she said.

Thane said she doesn't understand why the council is rushing to change the charter, and said the commission should take its time.

"Changes to the charter should not be made precipitously or because of political winds," Thane said. "Most of the individuals chosen were active participants on a Facebook page that Diane Hatzenbuhler started. I have no idea what else they bring to the table, because there has been no request for letters of intent or resumes."

Thane asked for resumes during Tuesday's council meeting in which the individuals were appointed, but none were provided.

Third Ward Alderman Ronald J. Barone Sr. scoffed at the question.

"Resumes?" Barone asked. "For what? I know all these people."

Thane said there should be more time and consideration given to the constitution of the commission. She said they are taking no time to consider her concerns about the charter review process.

"Resumes, identifying goals and outcomes for this commission," Thane said. "Transparency and accountability are only demanded of me. They give themselves a pass."

When asked about the commission's goals Friday night, Hatzenbuhler didn't specifically identify any.

She said she wants the charter to be less "wishy-washy and loosey-goosey" and more "black and white."

"[The goals are] going to be entirely up to the commission once we give them the direction," Hatzenbuhler said, without explaining what that direction would be. "They are all intelligent, well-qualified individuals. Especially under the direction of Bob Going, they'll be able to look at things and see where clarification is needed."

The 2004 charter review commission, of which Hatzenbuhler was a part, also yielded two commissions that analyzed and made recommendations on the city charter.

Hatzenbuhler said she'll be looking into the charter to see if Thane is authorized to appoint her own committee. If she is given that power, Hatzenbuhler said "she should be allowed to do so."

Once the commission, or commissions, comb the charter and find what it believes should be changed, it will report back to the Common Council. The council will review the suggestions and hold public hearings before the changes are put on November's ballot.

A call to committee chairman Going was not returned Friday.


Comments made about this article - 1 Total

Posted By: Mike Dailey On: 4/19/2014

Title: Old saying

Any kid who's ever played in a pickup game of any kind knows this one: "If you're losing the game, change the rules!"

Comment on this article

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