Wednesday, January 11, 2017




Orange County lawmaker proposes charter reforms

GOSHEN – Democratic Orange County Legislator Jeffrey Berkman has proposed nine charter reforms, which he believes will make county government more efficient and equitable.

One of the changes follows the lead of Ulster and Dutchess counties, which reduced the sizes of their county legislatures a number of years ago.

“That will be controversial and I don’t know whether it will have sufficient votes to be put on the ballot for the people to decide or not, but I have been approached by a couple of Republicans who have told me they are very much interested in hearing about it,” Berkman said.

The current legislature has 21 members.  Berkman is proposing lowering that to 15. For one thing, he said that would save the county about $225,000 a year and that money could be used for a new program, an inspector-general. That went down to defeat when first proposed several years ago.

Berkman’s proposals also include creating a ninth statutory committee – the Environment and Property Committee; developing a power sharing provision for committee leadership; reapportionment; increasing the membership on statutory committees; including the majority and minority leaders on the capital committee; limiting election of a member to no other elective position; and term limits.


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