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Montgomery County Legislature considering four possible rules of procedure changes

FONDA – Montgomery County legislators will consider four possible changes to their rules of procedure.

District 1 Legislator Martin Kelly proposed the changes. District 4 Legislator Ryan B. Weitz, chairman of the Education and Government Committee, read them at Tuesday’s committee meeting. Committee members voted to forward them to the full board, which will meet in two weeks.

One change would create the positions of majority and minority party leaders in the legislature. Those positions were part of the former board of supervisors. The other proposed changes included development of a seating plan, requiring a 2/3 majority instead of a simple majority to amend the budget, and having all nine legislators serve on the budget and finance committee, making it a committee of the whole.

At least two legislators expressed displeasure with the idea of majority and minority leaders.

“I couldn’t support majority and minority leaders,” District 3 Legislator Roy S, Dimond said. “This is the opposite of what people in my district wanted.”

District 9 Legislator Alexander S. Kuchis agreed.

“It smacks of New York City government,” he said.

Changing to a 2/3 majority to amend the budget would mean a difference of one vote; five of the nine legislators constitute a simple majority, whereas a 2/3 majority would require six votes. District 7 Legislator Barbara S. Wheeler, who served on the Board of Supervisors, said she favored the change.

“We have a whole new dynamic going forward,” she said. “This is a whole different form of government. Locking us into a 2/3 majority, I would support that.”

District 1 Legislator Martin Kelly proposed the changes. District 4 Legislator Ryan B. Weitz, chairman of the Education and Government Committee, read them at Tuesday’s committee meeting. Committee members voted to forward them to the full board, which will meet in two weeks.

One change would create the positions of majority and minority party leaders in the legislature. Those positions were part of the former board of supervisors. The other proposed changes included development of a seating plan, requiring a 2/3 majority instead of a simple majority to amend the budget, and having all nine legislators serve on the budget and finance committee, making it a committee of the whole.

At least two legislators expressed displeasure with the idea of majority and minority leaders.

“I couldn’t support majority and minority leaders,” District 3 Legislator Roy S, Dimond said. “This is the opposite of what people in my district wanted.”

District 9 Legislator Alexander S. Kuchis agreed.

“It smacks of New York City government,” he said.

Changing to a 2/3 majority to amend the budget would mean a difference of one vote; five of the nine legislators constitute a simple majority, whereas a 2/3 majority would require six votes. District 7 Legislator Barbara S. Wheeler, who served on the Board of Supervisors, said she favored the change.

“We have a whole new dynamic going forward,” she said. “This is a whole different form of government. Locking us into a 2/3 majority, I would support that.”

Editor’s Note: This article has been revised to make clear the changes were proposed by Martin Kelly and would be applicable to the rules of procedure.

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About John Becker

John Becker is both a Reporter and Consulting Editor for The Compass. He and his wife Pat operate Abbey Farms in Amsterdam NY.

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