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The Saratogian Newsroom blog, complete with thoughts and commentary from our newsroom staff and regular posts on happenings around town.

Wednesday, August 15

Is the clock still ticking or has it already run out?

"Nothing to report at this time," Mayor Scott Johnson said Tuesday night when I asked him about whether he has decided to assemble a mayoral commission to explore charter change or not.

In the briefest of synopses: After two years, thousands of signatures and two court cases, Saratoga Citizen has a measure on the ballot in November to change the city's form of government from a commission form to a council-manager form.

That would take the current City Council, which consists of five commissioners who are in charge of specific departments within the city government and change it to a standard legislative body, stripping them of their day-to-day responsibilities in their departments. It would put a city manager in charge of the day-t0-day operations of the city.

The only thing that could stop people from voting on that change in government at this point would be if Mayor Johnson formed a commission to explore how to change the city's government.

Recommendations from that commission could bump Saratoga Citizen's proposal from the ballot if it comes up with recommendations before Oct. 1, which of course doesn't give it much time.

The mayor left the door open for the commission back in May
when the City Council put the Saratoga Citizen proposal on the ballot (sort of, see here for more details on why that isn't exactly accurate)

I've asked the mayor about the commission virtually every time we've talked since then, and I am no closer than I was in May to knowing whether it is going to happen. At the end of June he said “I don’t want to unduly delay it. There are reasons why I’ve delayed my announcement.” He wouldn't tell me the reasons.

With a scant six weeks and five days until any proposal needs to be submitted to the Board of Elections to be put on the ballot, the possibility of it coming together in time seems to be getting slimmer by the day. The mayor said in June that he believed some commissions had been formed as late as August.

But with that decision yet to be announced Saratoga Citizen is pressing forward with its educational campaign to let voters know what they will be deciding in November.

"The only way people can be for or against it is if they know what it's about," said Pat Kane, one of the groups primary organizers.

Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in the Saratoga Springs Public Library, the group will bring another speaker in to discuss what they see as the benefits of the council-manager form of government.

Bob McEvoy, a professor at SUNY Albany with a specialty in Local Government Management
Department of Public Administration & Policy, as well as the former president of the New York State Association of City and County Managers will be discussing the proposed system of government.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I moved here a couple of years ago from out of state and we love it here this city is the envy....and other places are trying to copy our formula.....why would you want to change what has put us back on the world stage???...Something just doesn't ring true with this saratoga citizen,I know I'm new here but this is very suspect.

August 16, 2012 at 6:30 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Article in today's Gazette,the city's surplus isn't 6.2 million it's really 10 million,better hurry up and change this form of gov't before these amateurs'running the city hit 20 million,LOL LOL!Nice try Mr. Kane you'd be better off if you changed your briefs first!

August 16, 2012 at 8:14 AM 

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