Friday, November 25, 2011


Implementation v. Application.....

Freeman staff

KINGSTON – Five years ago Ulster County voters fundamentally changed county government, when they voted to move to a charter form of government.

Most significantly, the charter put at the head of county government a county-wide elected executive empowered with broad unilateral powers. Ulster County’s first county executive, Michael Hein, took office on Jan. 1, 2009. He was elected to a new four-year term in November.

Three years after government began operating under the charter’s auspices, a special commission is revisiting the plan.

Since September, the Ulster County Charter Revision Committee has been meeting to review the document which lays out how the new county government works.

ON DEC. 13, the Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach at SUNY New Paltz and the League of Women Voters of the Mid-Hudson Region, will host a conference to examine how the charter has worked and how results compare with the original expectations, as well as its strengths, weaknesses and future best practices.

THE MEETING is designed to provide information to the commission now considering whether to recommend changes to the county charter.

“We’re calling upon people who helped write the charter, who advocated for it and have experience operating under it to tell us whether their expectations were met, whether it’s operating the way they had thought, what it’s strengths and weaknesses are,” said Gerald Benjamin, the center’s director. A SUNY New Paltz professor, Benjamin was chairman of the commission that created the county charter.

Benjamin said the Revision Commission has been invited to the conference and he hopes that members “will be informed” by the conversations.

THE COUNTY charter requires that a Revision Commission review the charter five years after its creation and every 10 years thereafter.

THE 11-MEMBER Revision Commission meets on Tuesdays at 3 p.m. in the Legislature’s conference room of the County Office Building, 244 Fair St.

Over the course of the past several meetings, commission members have met with department heads, administration members and other countywide elected officials to understand the impact the charter has had on their departments.


Anonymous said...

I think the concept of putting a singular executive in charge has proven effective in rooting out things like the Health department corruption. I like the fact that the comptroller has oversight over county departments. The district attorney needs to be held accountable. Slush funds are now technically not permissable. Influence over the real property department is likely to become a hot issue soon. The county clerk's role needs the spotlight next. All the issues central to the responsible fiscal operations of our county are now more easily highlighted and investigated. A definite shake up of the status quo has begun and not soon enough for me. Too much fraud and waste.

Anonymous said...

DPW employees need to be told to multi-task while maintaining county highways rather than just cold patching with four men driving around in a one ton crew cab. They should also carry a chain saw to cut branches and limbs over hanging the white lines and shoulders of county highways as this is their job or don't take the pay! Further more culverts need to be cleaned from leaves and debris. The four supers behind the desk better get out and do their jobs also. Purchase or rent a chipper{s] when needed after major storms to clean debris quicker and not rely on one county tree crew to do all of Ulster county highways. Sub-contract if need be. How is Heins county mutual aid going. Not to many towns renewed there contracts. Maybe town highway departments should recieve county highway funds 100% and maintain county roads in there townships. County could be responsible for Bridges,Large Box Culverts and Guide Rail.

Anonymous said...

Holley Carnright is still indignant that he got caught by your office mismanaging funds. Now he feels compelled to publicly attack your job authority? Corruption is showing itself. Is DiNapoli aware of this powerplay? Perhaps he should connect the dots of all his current issues from the state finance dept. to get a better grasp of the political influence behind the opposition to transparency. Ulster County taxpayers deserve open and honest government. Carnright and co. are standing in the way.