State Senator John J. Bonacic (R/I/C - Mt. Hope), today met with members of the Ulster County Charter Commission. The Commission had asked for the Senator’s input in making recommendations relating to Ulster County’s form of government.
The Senator and Commission discussed a number of issues. The Senator suggested changes with respect to Ulster County’s form of Government and Rules of the Legislature. His comments specifically suggested:
* Amending the Rules of the County Legislature to prohibit "memorializing resolutions" which are not directly germane to Ulster County. A similar rule within the New York State Senate prohibits State Senators from offering resolutions in support of or opposition to various Federal legislation unless it is directly germane to New York State;
* Developing a stronger County voice for economic development;
* Having an Elected County Executive rather than an appointed County Administrator.
"Ulster County is ideally situated from an economic development stand-point. It has a good workforce, great transportation assets, a top level community college, and four year SUNY college in it. Some of its governance flaws are holding back smart growth. Other governance flaws allow for an unduly partisan Legislature which focuses too much Legislative time on making statements of no legal import, when that time could be spent on other endeavors," Senator Bonacic said.
Senator Bonacic endorsed the concept of an elected County Executive for Ulster County. "Currently, there is no person with the mandate to speak for the entire electorate. Ulster is a growing county in a growing region. An elected County Executive would be the singular leader of the county, not the consensus leader of a caucus," the Senator said.
Senator Bonacic has represented all or parts of six counties: Rockland, Orange, Sullivan, Delaware, Greene, and Ulster. "I believe in more populous counties, such as Ulster, ‘the buck’ must stop somewhere. A County Executive would be the driving force behind the County. I trust voters when it comes to making a decision on who to elect, and believe there are several competent individuals of various political parties who would make an excellent Ulster County Executive."
Senator Bonacic, prior to being elected to the Senate and Assembly, served on a town Planning Board and also served seventeen years in the Orange County Legislature, including time as Majority Leader and Chairman. He was elected Chairman of the Orange County Legislature by a group of Republicans and Democrats who came together and supported him over the incumbent, Republican Chairman of the Legislature.
The full text of the Senator’s statement appears on his web-site, www.senatorbonacic.com.