Erie Co. charter revision vote up in the air

Charter Revision Vote Up In The Air

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Erie County legislature approved a measure to allow voters to decide whether to revise the county charter. It includes extending terms for legislators from two to four years.

But it now seems unlikely that voters will have a say in this matter in November and it has to do with timing. The County Executive would have to sign off on this on Friday in order for it to make the ballot in November, but his office tells 2 On Your Side that he won't be making a decision until all of the public input is gathered. Public comments will be accepted through next Friday, September 16.

A county charter revision commission meets every ten years to come up with suggestions on how to improve county government. This year, those 19 volunteers met more than 50 times. They put together 51 pages of proposed changes including ethics reform measures and guaranteed full pay for county employees who are military reservists called up to active duty.

While term limits were not included, extending terms for county legislators from two to four years was.

"Some legislators who are in favor of the four year feel there's a learning process here that you really cannot accomplish in two years. Is that practical? It probably is. I come from a local town. I spent some years as a town councilman. I had a lot of background when it came to the legislature. Most of my colleagues have no background. So that was their reason for wanting it. Plus, it's a financial burden to run every two years. That was another reason," says John Mills, Chairman of the Erie County Legislature.

The county held a public hearing on the proposed charter revisions Thursday, and no one from the public showed up. If you still want to give input the deadline is next Friday at 5 p.m.


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