Ed Day, Rockland County Executive
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 31, 2014
Contact: Scott Salotto (845) 638-5645
COUNTY EXECUTIVE DAY VETOES CHARTER AMENDMENTS
NEW CITY, NY -- Calling it "a bad bill for the people of Rockland County," County Executive Day today vetoed a local law which could have brought meaningful reforms to the county charter.
"Substantive changes to the charter were promised by the Legislature, but the final product remains weak on ethical standards and comprehensive oversight," the County Executive wrote in a message to the Legislature. "As I made clear, I will not approve this local law without term limits, an enhanced 'two hat' rule and special elections for legislative vacancies."
The current County charter, which acts as a blueprint for Rockland's system of government, was adopted in 1984 and was originally designed to diffuse power among the County Executive and the Legislature. There is broad agreement that the 25-page charter needs to be updated, streamlined, made simpler and more flexible, allowing changes to reflect our changing county. County Executive Day said agreement on those specific changes has been elusive.
The County Executive told lawmakers, "The process to revise the charter was significantly flawed. The version of the bill finally passed differed substantially from the two other versions previously placed on the Legislators' desks. This is a violation of Municipal Home Rule Section 20(4)."
"While constructive dialogue produced agreement on Legislative-submitted proposals, a similar collaboration did not extend to the key issues raised for consideration by my Executive Staff," he said.
Day said he stands with all people of the County in supporting improvements that make Rockland better, not a revised county charter with critical changes reduced to little more than weakened gestures. "I stand for what will strengthen our communities for years to come, not what serves the short-term political interests of a few."
"While the measure does include meaningful reform to the budget process and a provision for the appointment of a Deputy County Executive, the compelling issues facing government were fully ignored by the legislative leadership," said Day. "If we are to open the Charter for improvements, we must include essential changes sought by the people. Our residents deserve no less."