Proposal calls for doubling chairman's term
The resolution by Democratic Legislator Chris Allen has angered some members of his own party.
Angering members of his own party, a Democratic Ulster County legislator has proposed the Legislature chairman and clerk be elected by members every two years instead of annually.
Chris Allen, D-Saugerties, submitted the proposal Tuesday.
“I think everybody deserves a chance to prove themself as chairman or chairwoman for two years ... and obviously the same thing holds true for the legislative clerk position,” Allen said.
The proposal means the chairman and clerk would be elected only at the beginning of each two-year term of the Legislature, rather than once at the beginning and once at the halfway point.
“I know that there’s been some concerns about [having] a legislator who abuses their power or is ineffective or a poor chairman,”
Allen said, so the legislation allows for removal of the chairman or clerk by a three-fourths vote of the 23-member body.
Allen’s proposal calls for a Dec. 13 public hearing in advance of a vote by lawmakers.
Allen said he spoke to members of the Legislature’s Republican majority and that they supported his plan.
“I have a short ‘yes’ from the Republican caucus on this,” he said. “So I have the votes to get this through.”
Legislator David Donaldson, D-Kingston, a former chairman of the body, said there is no need to change a policy that has served lawmakers well.
“This is one of the most unacceptable resolutions I think I’ve seen since I’ve been here,” he said.
“People are pretty reluctant to turn out a chairman,” Donaldson said. “It’s never been done that
I know of.”
Legislator John Parete, D-Boiceville, also a former chairman, agreed the body’s leaders should be chosen annually, and he was noticeably upset after listening to Allen say he had enough votes for the measure to be approved.
“Well, you’re just pretty slick,” Parete said.
Minority Leader Hector Rodriguez, D-New Paltz, said the issue should have been discussed before a resolution was submitted.
Allen responded by saying he doesn’t need permission to make proposals.