It is time for Cortland County to be run by a qualified, trained, and capable professional administrator. As a county with over a $134 million budget, we need fiscal responsibility and accountability. A County Administrator can take the proactive steps needed to keep costs in check and can identify additional resources for the County, including grants and other sources for generating revenue. A successful County Administrator would pay for their position many times over because of the professional management and forward-vision they would bring to the role. We won’t let the mistakes of the past continue to haunt us and keep us from filling this key position, one which most other counties in New York State have already appointed. In order to be part of the solution, I am currently chairing the new Cortland County Administrator Search Committee.
We must have a serious discussion about finding fiscally responsible ways to balance our budget. We need to begin the budget process for 2020 right away and take the time needed to have a full and fair review across the entire budget. We also need to discuss as a community what services are most important to us. Tough choices need to be made and actions must be taken together. By making critical decisions with greater community involvement and more transparent approaches, by hiring a professional administrator with experience in running an organization like ours, and by having an open dialogue about what are the most important services to us, together we can finally take action that has for so long eluded this legislature.
Time and again, we have heard from voters about the lack of transparency and public involvement in the important decisions affecting us all. To remedy this problem, I support the following measures for legislative action: Open Government, Listen to the Public, Let the Public Speak, Increase Participation
Here is how I have proposed we improve transparency in Cortland County Government:
Open Government: Move all public meetings until after 5:00 p.m. More people who wish to attend meetings and have their voices heard would be given the opportunity to do so without having to take time off work in order to participate.
Listen to the Public: Increase the time for public comments at the monthly legislative meetings from 3 minutes to 5 minutes. It is clear 3 minutes is simply not enough time for people to say what they wish to express, and everyone should have an opportunity to be heard.
Let the Public Speak: Allow public comments on any topic regardless of whether it is on the Legislature’s agenda or not. Everyone should have the constitutionally guaranteed right to petition their government. If someone wishes to address the full Legislature, they should be allowed to speak on any subject and have their concerns heard.
Increase Participation: Broadcast all public meetings of the legislature live on YouTube. While we record sessions of the full legislature, not all meetings are video recorded, and none of them are broadcast live to the public. Engaging with the citizens in a transparent, modern way requires us to take advantage of social media as a communications tool.
I support the state plan allowing Underdocumented individuals the chance to earn a driver's license. Individuals who apply will still need to provide documentation from their home country and still need to meet all the same requirements for being awarded a drivers license such as testing, insurance, etc. This measure will simply recognize the reality of life in New York that underdocumented individuals drive on our roads and through that recognition help to ensure greater safety for everyone. This measure is NOT a path to citizenship, it is NOT a path to voting rights, it is NOT a path to state or federal benefits.