News from the Charter Commission Hearing

The Westchester County Charter Revision Commission will hold a public forum on Wednesday, April 3rd at 7 p.m. in the Westchester County Center in conference room “H” to present a summary of its work to date and to receive public comment regarding the issues being discussed by the Commission.

Established by Act of the County Board of Legislators in March 2001, the Commission was appointed to study, review and recommend changes to the Westchester County Charter and Administrative Code (“Charter”). To apportion and facilitate its work, the Commission established four Focus Groups to examine discrete aspects of the structure of County Government under the Charter:

  1. Budget/Finance
  2. Charter/Code
  3. Local Government/County Government
  4. Executive Branch/Legislative Branch

Each Focus Group has completed a report outlining Charter revision proposals for consideration by the entire Commission. Among the issues recommended for Commission discussion are Budget Process Reforms; County-wide Assessment; the Appointment Confirmation Process; the Role of the County Attorney in Representing both the County Executive and County Board of Legislators; Changing the Office of County Clerk from an Elected to an Appointed Position; Public Participation in the Legislative Process through Initiative and Referendum; Restructuring of the Executive Function; Creation of the Position of Intergovernmental Relations Liaison; Establishment of a Council of Governments; Mandating Periodic Charter Review and the Municipal Guarantee of County Tax Collections. The Focus Group Reports are available online at http://www.westchesterlegislators.com/sub-committees.html

The Commission will debate these and other issues and will prepare its recommendations for Charter change during the next several months. The Commission’s final report is to be submitted to the County Board of Legislators and the County Executive on or before December 15, 2013.