Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Executive or Administrator or . . .

Not quite sure what the County government is up to, raising the question whether Oneida County should be headed by an elected executive or an appointed administrator.
A bipartisan commission of government officials and lay people will likely vote Thursday on that question. Their recommendation is not binding, and if they vote for the change the county Board of Legislators will decide how to proceed
Other than Harry Hertline, just who is on this "bipartisan commission" and what is their track record on issues? If Mr. Hertline is an example . . . We, the People, are in trouble. One of his last acts on the Legislature was to ramrod approval of the Consent Order with DEC (he feeling there was no need to study it) . . . effectively committing residents in his City of Utica district to fund suburban improvements through their sewer user fees. This behavior was more like that of a political operative than a representative of the people. Take a look at his old district in West Utica . . . It went from being one of the best neighborhoods in the city to being among the worst.

I've often sensed over the last few years that our County Executives were really figureheads anyway . . . hand-picked by an elite group of unnamed insiders . . . each put into place to fill a vacancy . . . then sequentially kicked "upstairs" to other positions as their un-re-electability became apparent as the County continued to decline.

No disrespect to Mr. Picente, but who in the general public really heard of him before he was appointed? He was not known for speaking out on issues earlier. The insiders seemed to have run out of familiar candidates when he was picked. Now that people are voicing dissatisfaction with Mr. Picente (because county policies have not changed one iota for the last generation and the decline continues), the "insiders," whomever they are, are looking for an alternative method of locking in their power. It's much easier to manipulate a Board of Legislators into picking an administrator than a whole electorate into picking an executive (eh, Mr. Hertline?).

Executive, or Administrator . . . or Puppet?


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

"It's much easier to manipulate a Board of Legislators into picking an administrator than a whole electorate into picking an executive (eh, Mr. Hertline?)."

Exactly. I want the ability to vote out an incompetent County Executive such as Tony "Big Government" Picente. If we had a administrator in place right now, we would have had an 8.9% tax increase approved by the big spending Republicans who have the majority in the county legislature. (This comment is coming from an embarrassed Republican who believes in less spending and government interference in our lives - just the opposite of the philosophy and actions of the NYS and Oneida County Republican Party).

Lets go one step further and eliminate the County Legislature and replace them with a weighted Board of Supervisors. It is the town supervisors and Mayors who understand how a budget works and the consequences of unnecessary spending and mandates. They speak directly for the residents of their towns/cities. The legislature is just another layer of worthless politicians who are only in it for the benefits and pension. Lets dump them before they dump the County Executive position.

Strikeslip said...

Anonymous -- the Board of Supervisors idea crossed my mind too -- and for the same reason. The fastest growing county in New York State is Saratoga County, which is run by a Board of Supervisors.

Anonymous said...

The matter should be studied and be subject to full discussion. A reform of the Board in terms of size and a professional manager system should not be discounted out of hand.The bulk of the County budget is in social services, public works and law enforcement. There is not a lot of discretion in these areas, but a real need for creative and innovative management.Democracy and accountablity would be preserved since the Board members are elected.Anyone who knows the inner workings of county government knows that most of the time the County Executive does very little. A manager could be up other functions such as the budget director duties thus eliminating an additional department.We should not be quick to discard seriously looking at structural changes.

Greens and Beans said...

A professional County Administrator would appear to be more credible in terms of NOT being a “political puppet.” There are several professional employment agencies that specialize in this field. (http://www.govtjobs.com/execsrch.html or http://www.mercergroupinc.com/CurrentSearches.htm). The professional Administrator could realistically exhibit where surgical cuts can be made without having to worry over what “favored” political appointee would lose their plush patronage job. The County Board of Supervisors concept would make the Board of Legislators more responsive to their specific district needs and concerns.

But this could ONLY be possible if Oneida County could realistically sell this concept to the electorate. This may be difficult because there are too many County voters who have family members and friends who are part of expensive political patronage job bank that Oneida County government has become.

Strikeslip said...

I would consider an administrator, if we went back to a Board of Supervisors. I would expect them to quickly and clearly know whether the appointed administrator was doing his or her job. Each of them would have executive responsibilities in their own jurisdictions. If county government did not work for their jurisdictions, they would have hell to pay back home. The connection between our current county legislators and the economic health of their districts is not usually perceived . . . and that is probably why most of them can be manipulated the way that they are.

Anonymous said...