I am extremely hopeful that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and my colleagues have joined me in my quest to strike section NN of Budget Bill A.156 concerning recommendations made by the Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness. These include expediting the local government consolidation process, eliminating compensation for special district commissioners, providing flexibility to convert town clerks and receivers of taxes from elected to appointed positions, and transferring the management of sanitary districts to town boards.
As many of you may already know, I have been outspoken in the Assembly to get this provision taken out of the budget and bring it to the light of day. I believe this can now happen. I have been assured by my Assembly conference, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, as well as the Governor's staff that I will be at the negotiating table crafting legislative reform as it pertains to giving a strong voice to the people when it comes to their local government. This, I am reasonably certain, will happen after the budget is signed into law.
I maintain once again that Albany must not throw the baby out with the bathwater. In my 16th Assembly District, the town, special districts, and villages ain't broken. In fact their infrastructure and maintenance are the best in the country. I will continue to seek out reform measures that ensure long-term cost and service efficiencies, always with an eye towards empowering the people that I serve.