|Citizen Participation in Onondaga County
A guide to County Boards, Councils, Committees and Commissions
Onondaga County government has a role in all aspects of our community: providing human services, protecting us from fire and crime, creating job opportunities and helping us use and conserve our natural resources. In order to accomplish this, it takes people dedicated to public service: elected officials, County employees, members of advisory bodies and volunteers. This guide has been written as an introduction to the various advisory groups serving Onondaga County. These permanent committees, along with the numerous ad hoc study groups formed from time to time, have a very important role in County government.
The following list includes the County’s advisory boards, councils, committees and commissions, with a brief description of their mission and current membership. Without the help and involvement of local citizens, County government could not provide the quality services our community so richly deserves.
Aging Services Advisory Board
Members: 20 members including 10 appointed by the County Executive and 10 by the Mayor. Members serve a 3-year term, but not more than 2 consecutive terms.
Purpose: The Commission is responsible for planning environmental and personal services to meet the needs of the senior population through the evaluation of services and the identification of major problems affecting the elderly.
County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board
Members: 11 members, at least 4 of whom shall be active farmers. One member shall represent agribusiness and one member may represent an organization dedicated to agricultural and land preservation. Members of the board shall also include the chairperson of the County Soil and Water Conservation District’s Board of Directors, a member of the County Legislative body and a County Cooperative Extension Agent, County Planning Director and the County Director of Real Property Tax Services. The members of such Board shall be appointed by the Chairperson of the County Legislature.
Purpose: The board shall advise the County Legislature and work with the County Planning Board in relation to the proposed establishment, modification, continuation or termination of any agricultural district. The Board shall render expert advice relating to the desirability of such action, including advice as to the nature of farming and farm resources within any proposed or established area and the relation of farming in such area to the County as a whole.
Board of Ethics
Members: At least 4 members appointed by the County Executive for a 3-year term, and with Legislative confirmation; one member must be an officer/employee of County government.
Purpose: The Board of Ethics shall render advisory opinions to officers and employees of the County with respect to the County’s code of ethics.
Citizens Energy Committee
Members: 19 members appointed by the County Executive.
Purpose: The Citizens Energy Committee works to stimulate and foster energy conservation in Onondaga County by encouraging the adoption of policies and legislation; implements informational and educational efforts on energy conservation; and coordinates efforts of other public and private agencies.
City of Syracuse/County of Onondaga Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commission
Members: 50 members including 12 appointed by the County Executive, 12 appointed by the Mayor, 4 appointed by the County Legislature, 4 appointed by the Syracuse Common Council, as well as 18 positions jointly and permanently appointed by the County Executive and the Mayor designated ex-officio members with voting and full membership privileges as follows:
Chairperson of the Onondaga County Legislature
President of the Syracuse Common Council
Chairperson of the Health Committee, Onondaga County Legislature
Chairperson of the Public Safety Committee, Syracuse Common Council
Chief of Police, City of Syracuse
Sheriff, County of Onondaga
US Attorney for the Northern District of New York District Attorney
Onondaga County District Attorney
Commissioner, Onondaga County Department of Mental Health
Commissioner of Health of Onondaga County
Commissioner, Onondaga County Department of Aging and Youth
Administrator, Syracuse/Onondaga County Youth Bureau
Executive Director, Medical Society of Onondaga County
Syracuse University Administrative Representative
Executive Director, Prevention Network
President, Syracuse Chamber of Commerce
Superintendent, Syracuse City School District
Superintendent, OCM BOCES
Appointments shall be subject to confirmation by the Legislature or the Common Council and each member shall serve for a 3-year term.
Purpose: The Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commission promotes awareness of the dangers of substance abuse and acts as a catalyst for new approaches to address drug and alcohol abuse in Syracuse and Onondaga County including education, targeted programming and community forums.
Central New York Regional Marketing Authority
Members: The State Commissioner of Agriculture and Marketing and the following number of directors appointed by their respective counties: Onondaga - 3; Oswego - 2
Purpose: The Authority shall formulate an operational program for a regional market within the district; fix, impose, and collect rental and license fees relative to all business done in the market; and make rules and regulations governing all business in the market.
Members: An even number of appointments with a minimum of 22 and a maximum of 44 members on the board allowing for equal representation from Onondaga County and the City of Syracuse. Each CEO (County Executive and Mayor) will appoint one-half of the Corporation membership. A majority of the members of the Board shall be representatives of the private sector. Appointments are for 3-years and require Legislative confirmation.
Purpose: Implementation of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998; CNY Works will coordinate resources, prevent duplication and ensure the effective and efficient delivery of workforce services in Onondaga County.
Council On Environmental Health
Members: 9 members appointed by the County Executive with confirmation by the Legislature. Members shall serve for a 2-year term and shall have backgrounds or interest in health sciences, natural sciences, water resources, engineering, land use, agriculture, law or administration. No members shall serve more than 3 consecutive 2-year terms.
Purpose: The Council offers oversight of all air, water and land use related programs and related activities within the County. Provide information and make recommendations to the Commissioner of Health, the County Executive and the County Legislature on matters involving environmental health, including but not limited to issues concerning air quality, water quality, public water supply, wastewater treatment, land use and the handling of and disposal of solid and hazardous waste and materials.
Central New York Regional Planning & Development Board
Members: 35 members that consist of 7 voting members from each of the following counties: Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga, and Oswego. The suggested membership composition is as follows:
•County Legislative Chair (or equivalent)
•County Legislative Planning Committee Chair (or equivalent)
•From the following four (4) categories, three (3) will be selected;
A. County Highway Officer
B. County Fiscal Officer
C. Local Elected Official; and
D. County Planning Board Chair
The members of the Board from each of the member counties shall be appointed by their respective County Legislative chairs, with the exception of Onondaga County, in which the County Executive will make the appointments.
Individuals named members of the Board by virtue of their specific county office, and city, town and village elected officials named to the Board, shall serve for the duration of their elected or appointed terms, or for three years, whichever period expires first. Appointed citizen and at-large representatives shall serve for a 3-year term.
Purpose: The Board prepares and provides regional studies and projections which will be useful and applicable to policy and planning decisions by public and private bodies within the Central New York Region; prepare comprehensive regional development plan components for coordination of public and private services; provide for the Region a central clearinghouse for planning and development information and proposals, and - through the exchange of information and recommendations w/government agencies, civic associations and private businesses in the Region arrange for the orderly development of the Region; provide advice and assistance in planning and development of the governments in the Region; administer a program for assuring adequate consideration of regional planning and development by public officials and private citizens such as publications, conferences, seminars and institutes; and study the needs and conditions, and develop strategies that enhance Central New York through its four program areas: Economic Development; Environmental/ Water Resources Management; Land Use and Transportation; and Regional Information Services.
Community Development Steering Committee
Members: Up to 15 members to be appointed by the County Executive, including two representatives from the Mayor’s Association, two representatives from the Supervisor’s Association, two County Legislators and 9 residents for a 3-year term with the number of terms being unlimited.
Purpose: The Community Development Steering Committee assists the County in formulating and implementing community development programs and to make recommendations to the County relating to the distribution of funds.
Community Services Advisory Board/Department of Mental Health
Members: Up to 15 members appointed by the County Executive with Legislative confirmation to serve a 4-year term, but not more than 2 consecutive terms, and in accordance with the New York State Mental Hygiene Law.
Purpose: The Board considers all matters relating to the mental health needs of the County and submits to the Commissioner and County Executive an annual projection of anticipated mental health needs for, and recommended services to be furnished to, the County for the ensuing six fiscal years.
Onondaga County Convention Center/War Memorial Complex Management Corporation
Members: 11 members consisting of 2 appointments by the County Executive, 2 by the County Legislature, 1 by the Mayor of the City of Syracuse, and 6 appointed by the County Executive approved by the County Legislature. Members shall have staggered terms consisting of the following: 3 directors for a 3-year term, 4 directors for a 2-year term and 4 directors for a 1-year term.
Purpose: The Corporation shall undertake a contract or arrangement to operate and manage the structures knows as the Onondaga County Convention Center/War Memorial Complex and to do everything necessary to the promotion, development, supervision, management or maintenance of the Complex; and manage the Complex, other public and civic facilities owned by the County, including performing arts center theaters and other spaces for use of the public, and facilities ancillary to the Complex.
County Health Advisory Board
Members: 8 members appointed by the County Executive, at least 3 of whom shall be physicians licensed to practice in New York State, and 1 of whom shall be a member of the Onondaga County Legislature. Terms are 6 years for all members except legislator is a 2-year term.
Purpose: To advise the Commissioner of Health on matters regarding the preservation and improvement of public health and public services throughout the county.
County Library Board of Trustees
Members: 11 members appointed by the County Executive for 5-year terms with Legislature confirmation.
Purpose: The Library Board of Trustees has full control and supervision of the Public Library System. It employs the staff and makes the rules governing the Library.
Criminal Justice Advisory Board
Members: County Executive (or designee)
* County Court Judge
* City Court Judge
* Town or Village Justice
US Attorney, District Attorney, Sheriff
County Legislator, Commissioner of Probation
Commissioner of Correction and Chief Deputy,
Representative elected from local police agencies (one)
Syracuse Police Department
Commissioner of Mental Health
Up to 2 representatives of agencies that provide legal services to those unable to afford counsel.
Representatives of private organizations with experience and involvement in alternatives to incarceration programs, as designated by the County Executive. Individual who provides state certified alcohol/substance abuse treatment services
Ex-offender and crime victim as designated by the County Executive
* As per appointment by Administrative Judge
Purpose: The Board shall develop and monitor a comprehensive plan for alternatives to incarceration programs; to review incarceration practices and trends through the use of jail population analysis; and to review jail overcrowding and develop solutions to alleviate the problem.
Emergency Medical Services Advisory Board
Members: 18 members appointed by the County Executive, representing the major components and respective agencies within the Emergency Medical Services System. Each member is appointed to a 3-year term.
Purpose: The Emergency Medical Services Advisory Board acts as an advisor to the County Legislature, County Executive, Commissioner of Health and the Director of Emergency Medical Services on all matters affecting public safety and emergency care.
Examining Board for Plumbers
Members: Up to 10 members appointed by the County Executive for a 3-year term, but not more than 2 consecutive terms as follows:
1 Representative from Master Plumbers Association
1 Representative from Journeymen in City of Syracuse
2 Representatives for Onondaga County Association of Plumbing Contractors
Chief Engineer of City of Syracuse (or designee)
Onondaga County Commissioner Water Environment Protection (or designee)
Onondaga County Commissioner of Health (or designee)
3 Residents of Onondaga County (non-voting)
Purpose: The Examining Board has jurisdiction and control over connections to public sewers; certifies plumbers who they deem qualified to perform plumbing work under the Department of Water Environment Protection in existing and future sanitary districts.
Fire Advisory Board
Members: Not less than 5 and no more than 21 members appointed by the County Executive with Legislature confirmation. Members serve for a 3-year term, but not more than 2 consecutive terms.
Purpose: The Fire Advisory Board advises the County on all matters relating to fire training, fire service and mutual aid programs.
Forest Practice Board - District 3
Members: 3 members appointed by the County Executive, of whom 2 must be landowners or their representatives; 1 member serves as a representative of the Onondaga County Legislature; Legislative member serves 2-year terms; other members serve 3-year terms; with Legislative confirmation.
Purpose: The Regional Forest Practice Board shall determine the forest practice standards necessary for their regions and shall formally adopt such standards and promote their application.
Justice Center (Jail) Oversight Committee (JCOC)
Members: Two members recommended by the County Executive, six members recommended by the Chair of the County Legislature with one considered at the recommendation of the Legislature Minority Leader, one member recommended by the Mayor of the City of Syracuse. All members serve three year terms and must be confirmed by the County Legislature. Two members must have prior experience in law enforcement, two members must have experience in civil rights and/or civil liberties issues or advocacy.
Purpose: The Justice Center Oversight Committee is a legislative committee established to review incidents that occur in the Justice Center, as well as complaints from inmates and and other interested parties, and then to make recommendations about policy, practices and training. These recommendations are intended to provide assistance to the Sheriff and information to the Legislature, to help both direct resources to prevent future incidents. The JCOC also provides a mechanism for community members to assist the Legislature in furthering these goals.
Onondaga County/Syracuse Commission on Human Rights
Members: 24 members of whom 18 are appointed by the County Executive with Legislative confirmation; 6 shall be appointed upon recommendation of the Onondaga County Legislature and 6 are appointed by the Mayor. Members serve for a 3-year term.
Purpose: The Commission exists to foster the growth and development of City and County in the area of human relations, and to create a climate in which citizens of all races, creeds, and political beliefs can understand and respect each other.
Metropolitan Water Board
Members: 7 members of which not more than 5 shall be from the same political party. Chairman of Onondaga County Water Authority is a member; 3 must be City residents (with advice of Mayor) and 2 County residents living outside the City. The Legislature Chairman appoints the Chairperson. Members serve for a 3-year terms.
Purpose: The Board shall act as the administrative body of the Onondaga County Water District.
Onondaga Community College Board of Trustees
Members: 9 members, 5 appointed by the County Executive and 4 appointed by the Governor. Terms are for 9 years and the County Executive’s appointments require Legislative confirmation.
Purpose: The major duties of the Board of Trustees are to elect a president or chief administrator of the institution; employ all personnel; purchase and acquire land necessary for the operation of the institution; receives and accepts private donations; and perform any other duties necessary.
Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency
Members: 7 members appointed by the County Legislature for a 3-year term, but no more than 2 consecutive terms.
Purpose: OCIDA authorizes tax-exempt industrial bonds to industrial and business firms to expand industry and create new jobs in Onondaga County; OCIDA works in cooperation with the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce, Manufacturers Association of Central New York and the Metropolitan Development Association in local economic efforts.
Onondaga County Planning Board
Members: 7 members appointed by the County Executive with 2 serving ex-officio by virtue of their office. Regular members serve 3-year terms, but not more than 2 consecutive terms with Legislative confirmation.
Purpose: The Board shall serve as advisor to the County Executive to departments, offices and agencies of the County and to the County Legislature on all planning matters relating to the development of the County.
Onondaga County Water Authority
Members: 5 members appointed for 3-year terms by the Chairman of the County Legislature, with Legislative confirmation.
Purpose: OCWA is organized as a public benefit corporation and was created in 1951 to engage in the construction, maintenance and operation of a water supply and distribution system for the benefit of the people of Onondaga County.
Region 7 Fish and Wildlife Management Board
Members: 3 members appointed by the County Executive with Legislative confirmation: 1 is a member of the Onondaga County Legislature; 1 member represents the landowners of the County (Recommended by the County Farm Bureau and Pomona Grange), and 1 member represents the sportsmen of the County (Recommended by the local sportsmen’s federation). Terms are for 2 years, but not more than 4 consecutive terms.
Purpose: The Regional Board shall formulate a statement of fish and wildlife management practices appropriate for its region and shall encourage landowners, lessees and sportsmen within the region to adopt and carry out the practices approved.
Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency
Members: 15 members appointed as follows:
4 by the County Executive
6 by the Mayor
3 by the Chairman of the Legislature
1 by the Town Board of the Town of Onondaga
1 by the Town Board of the town which hosts the location of the landfill.
Initial appointments are staggered terms, then 3-year terms, but not more than 2 consecutive terms. Appointments by the County Executive and the Chairman of the County Legislature require Legislative confirmation.
Purpose: To function as the Agency’s Board of Directors and oversee the implementation of the County’s Solid Waste Management Program. All meetings of the Agency require a quorum of 8 members.
Soil and Water Conservation District Board
Members: 5 members, 3 are appointed by the County Executive with Legislative confirmation. State law designates one Grange recommendation, one farmer and one non-farmer. Two members are County Legislators, serving for a one-year term and the other members serving for a 3-year term.
Purpose: The Board advises the County Executive and the County Legislature on matters concerning the conservation of soil resources and the control and prevention of soil erosion.
STOP DWI Advisory Board
Members: Up to 15 members appointed by the County Executive for a 3-year term, but not more than 2 consecutive terms.
Purpose: The Onondaga County STOP DWI Advisory Board is to advise the County Executive and his/her designee as the STOP DW Coordinator on issues dealing with the expenditure of revenue from STOP DWI fines. Under New York State Vehicle and Traffic law, the board should provide effective control and accountability for STOP DWI program funds, property and other assets. Procedures for determining the reasonableness, allowability and allocation of cost in accordance with provisions of the law, department, regulations and the approved plan and budget.
Syracuse/Onondaga County Youth Board
Members: 24 members appointed as follows:
County Executive appoints 10, with 2 being youth under the age of 21 residing in the County but outside the City. The Mayor appoints 9, with 2 being youth under the age of 21 residing in the City. 1 County Legislator appointed by the Chairman of the Legislature, 1 City Councilor appointed by the President of the Common Council, 1 representative of Village Mayor’s Association, 1 representative of Town Supervisor’s Association, and 1 representative of the Chief’s of Police Association.
The County Executive and Mayor appointees serve for a 3-year term, youths serve for a one-year terms and municipal representatives serve for a 2-year term. Members may serve for a maximum of 3 consecutive terms.
Purpose: The Board is responsible for advising the County Executive and the Director of the Division of Youth on the programs, policies and procedures of the Division; to assist in the procurement of federal and state funds, or funds from private sources; to implement the division’s programs; and to prepare and submit to the director an annual report.
Traffic Safety Advisory Board
Members: 15 members appointed by the County Executive for a 3-year term; ex-officio members are appointed as necessary. The Board has adopted by-laws and various specific committees.
Purpose: The Traffic Safety Advisory Board promotes and encourages street and highway traffic safety by formulating countywide programs of traffic safety education; makes recommendations as to changes in legislation; analyzes and studies motor vehicle accident data for education and informational purposes.
Veterans’ Service Advisory Board
Members: 15 members appointed by the County Executive for a 3-year term.
Purpose: The Board works with the Veterans Service Agency to assist veterans and their families; and reviews issues and concerns affecting veterans residing in the County.
Onondaga County government also has numerous program-related advisory committees that are created either to address a specific issue or assist various departments of County government such as: Onondaga County Housing Development Fund Company, Inc.; the Tobacco Asset Securitization Corporation, the Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery Board, and the Onondaga County Community Pandemic Preparedness Committee. If you, or any one you know is interested in serving on an advisory board, write to:
Joanne M. Mahoney
John H. Mulroy Civic Center
421 Montgomery Street
Syracuse, New York 13202