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County Legislature Finalizing Updates to Rules of Order
Thursday, June 12, 2014
County Legislature Finalizing Updates to Rules of Order
The Cortland County Legislature is moving closer to acting on revisions to its own rules of order, but a decision on the controversial process used to interview and hire select department heads remains up in the air.
 
Yesterday the legislatures rules of order committee finalized most of its proposed changes, the rules of order guide the legislature in its proceedings and spell out how business is conducted and legislative responsibilities.
 
Over the past six years the rules have been revised multiple times as new legislative bodies seek to rewrite the rules to favor certain positions or clarify ambiguities in the document.
 
Minority Leader Sandy Price who chairs the rules committee says the document is nearly complete, she hopes to have the changes in front of the legislature for a vote later this month.
 
One of the biggest sticking points in the rules  has revolved around the authority of the County Administrator and the process used to hire certain department heads. Every two years the legislature appoints a new County Attorney, Public Defender, Veterans Affairs Officer, Legislative Clerk and County Auditor.
 
Some lawmakers and community members feel the positions should be treated like all other appointments with the personal department taking applications and the administrator conducting interviews and making a recommendation on a candidate to the legislature for appointment.
 
Others feel that the interview and appointment process should be done by the legislature in conjunction with personnel office. 
 
During the legislatures organizational meeting in January, Chair Susan Briggs rejected the administrators recommendation to reappoint former Public Defender Ed Goehler and instead took a nomination from the floor to appoint former Public Defender Keith Dayton to the post. Goehler has filed a lawsuit against the county over the violation of the established process.
 
Price says on the advice of County Attorney Karen Howe, the committee with not address changes in  the controversial appointment process until after the Goehler lawsuit is settled.
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