Yesterday, the Erie County Legislature's 21st Century Commission, which was established to help craft the Erie County Legislature of the future, held a public hearing. Check out the Partnership's testimony.
It's amazing that we can still shop out recommendations made by Partnership volunteers that served on the Erie County Stabilization Project (ECSP) in 2005. A lot of the 128 recommendations made were implemented under the Giambra Administration - others have been looked at by County Executive Collins (interestingly, a good number of recommendations made by the ECSP fall in line with Collins' Six Sigma implementation). But the initiatives that target the Erie County Legislature continue to be ignored - until last night's hearing, of course.
It's both fascinating and frustration the way things work in New York State. Charters, legislation and home rule are often written seemingly to make sure nothin can change. Physical changes to the Erie County Legislature can only be implemented with the approval of the legislators that make up the body. A State Constitutional Convention that could make cost-saving reform of the way Albany operates can only be called for by the state legislature. And, of course, we have a Control Board who can't borrow money without the approval of the county, and a county that can't borrow money without the approval of the Control Board.
Which is why a great deal of credit has to go to Chairwoman Marinelli for starting this conversation about the future of the Legislature. Chances are - from news coverage of last night's hearing and a decade of talk about town - that the recommendations from the Commission are going to include a reduction in the size of the Legislature. Which means that legislators will be asked to support the possible elimination of their jobs. That's leadership that we haven't seen in a long time in this state.
From our perspective, that's important for our economy that we see government behave in such a proactive way. We're looking forward to more of this discussion.