Cortland Lawmakers Vote to Revise Appointment Process For Departmentheads
Cortland County lawmakers on the County Personnel Committee have approved a change to how a handful of appointed county positions are handled, the move vests more authority with the County Administrator.
In a 3 to 2 vote Thursday, lawmakers passed a resolution that charges the administrator and two legislators with making recommendations on who should serve as the County Attorney, Legislative clerk, Public Defender, Auditor, and Veteran’s Affairs Officer.
In the past the legislative caucuses have put up names of individuals for those jobs, with the appointees usually being patrons of the majority party.
Over the last couple years lawmakers have struggled with various ideas to take the positions out to the political realm and make the appointments based on qualifications rather than party affiliation.
Last year process resulted in stalemate over the reappointment of Keith Dayton as Public Defender, he was not reappointed and several months later a new appointment was made.
The new plan calls for the majority and minority leaders of the legislature to appoint a legislator to sit with the administrator to review candidates for the job, with the administrator bringing an appointment to the floor for legislative approval.
County Administrator Martin Murphy says the move makes sense since the administrator oversees these department heads on a daily basis and is ultimately responsible to make sure the work is getting done.
Murphy believes this move is a further endorsement by legislators of a County Administrative form of government.
Personnel Chair Tony Pace says it has taken lawmakers a year to get to this point, he feels the Administrator should be actively involved in the selection process.
The proposal must still pass the full legislature; it would go into effect after the 2013 elections.