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

Thursday, January 17

Shots fired in the Comprehensive Battle

For anyone who missed the article, the first shots of the battle over the Comprehensive Planning Committee were fired Tuesday at the City Council meeting Tuesday when a vote on hiring a consultant to help with the review of the Comprehensive Plan was tabled until the appointment of the committee was addressed.

I was off yesterday, so one of the editors put a call into Mayor Scott Johnson to see if he would be naming the committee at the State of the City Address tonight, but he played it coy it seems.

From the article:

On Wednesday, Johnson called the recent opposition to his naming the committee a “wrinkle, but not insurmountable.”

“I will be addressing this during the State of the City tomorrow evening,” he said, though he declined to give details ahead of the speech, which is set for 7 tonight in the City Center.
I'll be there with bells on tonight, so I guess we'll see how this plays out.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The General City Law authorizes a city council to prepare or amend a comprehensive plan. If, however, the plan is to be prepared by a committee other than city council itself, the "committee" must be appointed by resolution of the full legislative body.

There is a reason for this. To give balance to such a significant work.

So we are faced with several fundamental questions: did Johnson know the law or not. If he did know that he was without legal authority to unilaterally act, then he was proposing to act in violation of state the law.
If he did not know why did the City Attorney and the planning staff - who must have known - not advise him. Or did they and were they ignored?

Why can't the press simply ask the planning staff and the city attorney
if they told the mayor the correct procedure.

Such a committee can only be established by resolution of the Council. Johnson may not like it, but he took an oath of office and he must abide by it. Sorry, your honor.

January 17, 2013 at 4:06 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Comprehensive Plan needs people with specialized backgrounds and abilities. It would be simpler to establish this committee at the Mayoral level but the law is somewhat unclear. Looking at the makeup of this Council if the Council each chose three members the quality would obviously be not at the level of the department that has done all the research for those special needs. Can you imagine Commissioner Matthieson bringing in Amy Durland who has never seen a project she didn't like or maybe John Franck would bring in Bill McTygue if he has time to leave the bar. We need professionals and we should allow the professional to choose the members. This along with several other issues should be straightened out by the Charter Commission. There is too much ambiguous language in the current charter.

January 20, 2013 at 2:40 PM 

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