Charter commission appointed, Barone wants language child can understand

At Tuesday’s meeting, the common council approved a resolution forming a Charter Review Commission consisting of the following members: Robert Going (who was recommended as chairman), Jerry Skrocki, Marie Gavry, Mario Villa, Jeff Chace, Bob DiCensa, and Mike Sampone.

At the committee meeting held before the vote, 3rd Ward Alderman Ron Barone said that he would entertain a suggestion for a name from Mayor Ann Thane. Thane replied that she did not have any.

Thane later commented on the lack of any resumes collected from any of the volunteers saying, “When I’ve done this in the past, when we’ve made AIDA appointments or when we’ve appointed to the URA or any other commissions, I’ve asked for people to send their resumes in and then they’ve been vetted by everyone…we talk about goals and outcomes that we expect…I just feel you are rushing, I don’t understand why you are so hurried about this.”

“Because I want it on by November,” answered Barone, referring to the next regular election day when a public referendum on any proposed charter changes could be held. “I want this charter changed…because I think it’s horrible you can’t tell what it does…I don’t want to go to court every day because that charter doesn’t state it right or because some judge misreads it…I want it so simple…that a two year old child can read it and understand it. That’s how simplified I want it…because I don’t want the taxpayers to go back to court and have to pay for our stupidity.”

To Thane he said, “You get your own charter commission, you do whatever you want. I’m going to put one in place. And I’m going to dictate to them as to what we want done.”

“It’s very wishy, washy,” said 4th Ward Adlerwoman Hatzenbuhler about the charter, “I think because society has become very litigious, it’s best to make things black and white so we don’t go that route ever again…it’s not just society, our city has changed and I think…every ten years, to review it, there’s nothing wrong with that.”

Last month, the common council Republicans dismissed the advisement of  Corporation Counsel Gerard DeCusatis and the opinions of  lawyers consulted with by Thane and 2nd Ward Alderwoman Valerie Beekman.  Following advisement of their own choosing, they passed a resolution authorizing Hatzenbuhler to sign a contract that Thane refused to sign. Hatzenbuhler’s signing of the contract prompted a lawsuit by Thane which Montgomery County Supreme Court Judge Joseph Sise decided in her favor. Although the council rescinded the contract just before the ruling, the decision clarifies that under the charter, only the mayor has the power to negotiate and sign contracts.

Audio clip of the exchange between Thane and Barone:

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About Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of Anthem Websites Inc. which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.

11 Responses to Charter commission appointed, Barone wants language child can understand

  1. AvatarRob Millan says:

    Again, the ‘I don’t want to have to go to court every day’ is a poor excuse for revamping the Charter, as the Charter had never in the history of the City of Amsterdam been challenged to such extent. And anything that this group of people thinks they can fix in the current charter still won’t be ‘fixed’ as it still can be interpreted a million different ways. Simply put: there is no black-and-white answer to law. There will still be loopholes. There will still be varying degrees to which even the most rational and reasonable people can interpret it.

    Apologies, but Mr. Barone sounds like a misfit child crying because he can’t get his way, further feeding the believe that there is an ire in the air because evidently ‘a judge misread the charter.’ Mr. Barone isn’t allowed to unilaterally decide he wants to ‘put in his own charter;’ ironically enough, it says so in the Charter he wants to change, begging the question of who the ‘dictator’ in this debacle really is.

    • AvatarDavid Weaver says:

      I completely agree with Rob’s assessment of the situation. It seems that Barone and Hatzenbuhler are blaming the charter now for their own misuse of taxpayers’ money to pursue this matter in the court.

    • AvatarRogo says:

      The charter challenge came about from mr. decusatis missinterpretation of charter on ruling of non city residents on golf commission, in which he stated “take it to court.” He cost tax payer money.

      • Wrong. We went to court because the council tried to give themselves the authority to sign contracts. Corporation Council advised them in writing that this would not fly. If they’d listened, this would have stopped this action in its tracks.

        Rather than compromise one of the four times they were offered a change in terms, they pushed this all of the way into court. Instead of collaborating with this administration, which they loudly announced they’d do prior to taking their office, they made a blatant grab for executive power.

        The council sent us all to court, and what did they end up with? Having to reach a compromise.

        It’s time for this group to start working with me to address the needs of this community rather than focusing on their own personal and partisan agendas.

      • AvatarRogo says:

        It started with pro. Now your commission, last ap’t couldn’t find clubhouse!! What about Bob Noto!!! Mayor you should be embarassed at your appointments, I will fight to end for golfers and until mohawks pay money!!

  2. AvatarPam says:

    I am appalled at Mr. Barone’s rudeness to Mayor Thane, his tone of voice is very disrespectful.

    It’s a classic case of I don’t like the rules so I am going to take my toys and play someplace else. What’s even more disturbing is that no Alderman is to be a part of the Commission? Moreover, why is the very person who was responsible for the past changes charged with leading the team – hasn’t he already had his opportunity that’s led to this mess?

    Less we forget, as Republicans, the election of 2000 when there was national outcry to amend the Constitution to sit the candidate who won the majority vote! I doubt neither of these folks were front and center on that issue.

    I’m sure this saga will unfold as before with their retreat and backtracking and once again bring embarrassment to the City of Amsterdam.

    Where is our Republican Leadership, can’t we get these 2 reckless officials who are clearly out for their own agenda and nothing else under control so we can move this City forward???? It’s time to ground these insolent children.

    BTW – I wrote this so a 2 year old could understand it …….

    • AvatarRogo says:

      Talk about taking toys away maybe this council wil stop, lets borrowing of 28 million during last 6 years. look at budget!!!

      • AvatarRob Millan says:

        Bonding is a necessity for cities to fund major projects. You know that, or at least should. This is, of course, unless the city has millions in its coffers to fund these projects, which it doesn’t, or else it wouldn’t bond in the first place. Also, these bonds were voted on by the Common Council, not the mayor alone. Lastly, they were in anticipation of reimbursement.
        You aren’t allowed to use half-truths.

  3. AvatarRob Thomas says:

    I just think Ron wanted to make sure HE could understand it.

  4. AvatarMichael says:

    I’m with rogo on this one…the heck with the youth of this city they haven’t payed a dime of taxes yet. Close the parks send all available men to the golf course…calling all cars!

  5. Let’s get the facts straight here, The Common Council of the City of Amsterdam was sued by the Mayor, not the other way around. This fact alone, is enough for us to realize there is a need to review and bring our charter up to date. It should be a living document that gives us the appropriate framework to move forward from this point in time. Mayor Thane has personally pointed out to me many instances where the charter as is, does not meet our current needs and should be revised. The fear mongering going on about the charter update is unwarranted. There is no political agenda. I am not a registered Republican or a Democrat. I choose to vote for the person who, IMHO will do the best job without stomping on equality. Why don’t you give some credit to the people who volunteered to take on this task? The balance of power between the legislative body and the executive needs to be spelled out clearly. There should be no ambiguities that come about when sections of the charter/code are changed piecemeal without regard for their affect on other sections of the charter/code. The fact that the Common Council is united in purpose is a good thing. The Council should be commended for having the initiative to effect change in city government. Conflict of ideology and opinion in past administrations resulted in a local government that proved obstructionist to the point that passing any legislation was frustrating and time consuming. Making governmental framework easier to understand and navigate is a good thing for everyone. As a point of fact, my resume was submitted to Mayor Thane back in 2009 in consideration for appointment. I did serve on Amsterdam’s Zoning Update Committee.