Friday, December 19, 2014

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The Berkshires

Sullivan County legislator calls for new form of government

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Albany/HV: Sullivan County legislator calls for new form of government
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Surprise press conferences are becoming a common occurrence in Sullivan County. Just last month, legislators called for the removal of the County Manager. Now, Jonathan Ruis is asking his fellow legislators for a new form of government. YNN's Eva McKend has more.

MONTICELLO, N.Y. -- "Our issues have become much more complex and much more involved and I think the time is just right now," said Sullivan County Legislator Jonathan Ruis.

He says there is no time like the present and is calling for the county government to change to a County Executive system.

"If you are going to make a change like this, the proper way to do it is to empanel a charter commission. It’s how Ulster County eventually moved from a County Administrator to a County Executive form of government. It allows for a formal public input process," said Ruis.

Many legislators say they were surprised by the timing of this announcement and while they aren't necessarily opposed to a County Executive system form of government, they don't believe it is a priority at this time.

"I think long term, the idea has merit, but it’s not going to serve the immediate issues that are facing the county. We need to address those today," said Republican district nine Legislator Alan Sorensen.

Democrat Cindy Gieger agrees.

"No matter what form of government we have, there needs to be changes. There were many amendments to the county charter that I feel need to be reviewed. We have contracts that need to be reviewed. Before we would look into or formalize a change in government, I think we need to get the foundation a little stronger and start conducting better governance," she said.

Ruis also called for his colleagues to grant county manager David Fanslau a two year contract until the process of replacing the current system of government is complete.

But five legislators who make up a bipartisan council have already gone on record saying they want Fanslau gone. They argue this current push for executive is a distraction and ultimately a decision for the voters to make.

"I think it should be explored in a rational and systematic way. I don’t think it should be thrown in as a diversion from the very real problems that we are facing right now. Voters of Sullivan County are the people that will have to select that form of government," said district six legislator Cora Edwards.

At this time, the only consensus is that moving forward, things will have to change. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP