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Amsterdam, NY ,
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'Peaceful' protest planned Council seeks more control over workers

Tuesday, September 02, 2014 - Updated: 10:19 AM

By CASEY CROUCHER

Recorder News Staff

Before tonight's Amsterdam Common Council meeting residents are planning a protest against a resolution involving the regulation of city employees and what they do to city-owned property.

The "peaceful protest" is in regard to a resolution drafted by 4th Ward Alderwoman Diane Hatzenbuhler that states that, in the past city-owned property has been "removed, used [and] painted" without the knowledge or consent of the council.

Hatzenbuhler wants to resolve this issue by only allowing city employees to "use, remove, paint [or] deface" property with the council's consent.

In an email to aldermen from Corporation Counsel Gerard DeCusatis, he states the resolution "appears to be an attempt to direct city employees in their day-to-day actions," which is an executive power belonging to the mayor.

He said that power cannot be changed by a resolution -- it would require a charter amendment and that amendment would be subject to a mandatory referendum.

He suggested the council provide him and the mayor with more details of what they are attempting to regulate, as well as communication of the goals of the resolution from Hatzenbuh-ler.

Mayor Ann Thane agreed with DeCusatis.

"The council budgets at the beginning of the year, they get the departments their money, and then the departments and mayor dispense the money as they see fit," Thane said. "That's an executive function and staff function; the council is legislative and budgetary at the beginning of the year and if there's modification that needs to happen they do that, but they don't bless off on this stuff."

Thane said the council keeps trying to "walk into areas they don't belong."

Hatzenbuhler was no available for comment this morning.

The protest is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. at City Hall; the council is scheduled at 7 p.m.

     

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