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Amsterdam, NY ,
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Legality of commission discussed

Wednesday, October 02, 2013 - Updated: 10:13 AM

By ALISSA SCOTT

alissa.scott@recordernews.com

Amsterdam Corporation Counsel Gerard DeCusatis dispelled rumors of an "illegal golf commission" during a Common Council meeting Tuesday night.

Diane Hatzenbuhler, frequent attendee of council meetings who is also running for 4th Ward alderwoman, addressed the council during the public participation portion of the meeting. She explained that she had conducted research to prove that the Golf Commission was performing against the city charter.

Two committee members, she said, do not reside in the city of Amsterdam and, according to the charter, they must.

"I kept hearing the comments about the illegal golf commission, so I checked into it," Hatzenbuhler said. "Per our charter, city members, city residents are supposed to be on our boards and commission. No disrespect to the town of Florida or the town of Amsterdam."

Hatzenbuhler then requested any member of the golf commission "illegally" involved, or any non-city resident on any other board or commission, immediately resign.

DeCusatis said the commission is different than a true municipal board.

"The commission is basically advisory in nature," DeCusatis said after 4th Ward Alderman David Dybas asked that he clear things up. "It doesn't wield municipal authority, so there's no requirement that it be a city resident."

DeCusatis said one could make an argument about whether the golf commission has municipal authority "if you wanted to."

Hatzenbuhler also said these positions were illegally appointed by the mayor. DeCusatis explained that the mayor does not need a resolution to appoint committee members and they do not have to be city residents.

"So, then there is no violation," Dybas said.

Dybas asked that that opinion be written up on city stationery and be sent to the attorney general or inspector general's office for approval. DeCusatis said neither office interprets local charters.

Following the meeting, Hatzenbuhler said she thought it interesting that DeCusatis wasn't interested in pushing the matter off to either of those offices.

"If anyone has a real complaint about it, just bring an action," DeCusatis said. "That's up to Diane if she really wants to, she could bring any lawsuit she pleases to prevent the situation if she thinks it's illegal. Knock yourself out."

     

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