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Albany County charter changes?

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Albany/HV: Albany County charter changes?
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Albany County's charter is up for review this year. A committee will meet for the first time Wednesday to discuss possible changes. Already local leaders are sharing their opinions. Our Megan Cruz has this story.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- "We should look at downsizing the legislature," said Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, weighing in just before a charter review commission's set to meet Wednesday.

"And I can't call on that without saying, 'Hey look. Let's look at term limits for the County Executive,'" he said.

The county's charter was last updated back in 1994. McCoy says his suggestions will keep county government effective and efficient.

Albany County currently has the largest legislature in the state.

"Look at Erie County," said McCoy. "They have 11 and they have a population of over 900,000. We have a population of over 304,000 and we have 39."

What he wants it reduced to?

"I'm going to leave that up to the commission," he said. "They have to do their due diligence."

Which is why some members of the Legislature say McCoy spoke too soon.

"We don't want to interfere with the process, especially when the group's just getting started," said Lucille McKnight. She represents the 1st Legislative District.

Now the commission's made up of 11 members. They've been appointed by three leaders in the County Legislature.

McKnight says she's open to any changes the commission recommends, but, "We're going to be hands off," she said. "They'll submit a report to us the Legislature, and we will share it with the public."

Legislature Chairman Shawn Morse also says the less interference the better. He chose four of the committee's members.

"They will be independent, they'll examine the charter head to toe and make recommendations back to the legislature on what they think is best for 2013," he said.

"This is the first time in a long time we've done this. I just hope we do the right thing," said McCoy.

The review committee's meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at 112 State Street. It is open to the public.

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