Friday, January 12, 2018




Still no clear consensus on staggered terms for Sullivan legislators

MONTICELLO – At first, it looked most Sullivan County legislators were leaning hard toward a three-three-three-zero election rotation for the nine-member body. That started to fall apart during Thursday’s county legislature Executive Committee meeting, much to the dismay of County Attorney Cheryl McCausland, who was hoping for some clear direction. 

“I would like to believe that you were comfortable moving forward on staggered terms, three-three-three, ultimately for four-year terms.  Came to my attention that some of you may want to go five-four for four-year terms."

McCausland said she can adjust whatever local law she has been working on, once she knows what a majority of the legislature wants.

Legislators, including Scott Samuelson, left, Joe Perrello, back center, and attorney Cheryl McCausland, engage in lively debate

Mark McCarthy is still comfortable with the three-three-three rotation, in a four-year cycle.  Three seats would be up in each of years one, two and three, with no election in year four.

 “The whole idea of this was so that the majority of the board cannot be changed all at once,” McCarthy said.  “With five-four, that’s a possibility.”

It’s clearly a possibility now, with all nine legislature seats on the ballot at the same time every four years.  In fact, during the last election, there was a turnover with six seats.

Joe Perrello suggested the three-three-three fix could be worse than the problem.

 “You’re going to have stress for every election period, every year, and then people will be afraid to make moves, make decisions, based on their re-election,” Perrello said, favoring elections every two years with five seats, then four seats.

At that point, McCausland asked the legislators to try a bit harder to go with one or the other.  She said she will prepare a resolution to set a public hearing, at least tentatively, in March, if that agreement is reached.


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