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Meeting Minutes Return to Committee
Meeting Minutes
Office of the Onondaga County Legislature
Court House, Room 407 * 401 Montgomery Street * Syracuse, New York 13202
(315) 435-2070 Fax: (315) 435-8434

DEBORAH L. MATURO
Clerk
J. RYAN McMAHON, II
Chairman
KATHERINE FRENCH
Deputy Clerk

 

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION COMMITTEE MINUTES - AUGUST 9, 2017

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Dr. Chase, Ms. Cody

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Chairman Plochocki, Mrs. Tassone, Mr. Burtis

ALSO ATTENDING:  See attached list

 

Acting Chair Chase called the meeting to order at 9:05 a.m., noting that no action could be taken due to lack of quorum.

 

1.     WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION:  Tom Rhoads, Commissioner

        a.     Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into a Contract with the United States Department of the Interior for the Operation and Maintenance of Stream Gaging Stations in the County of Onondaga

 

Mr. Rhoads:

  • Annual contract, Dept. of Interior owns and operates stream gages  - measures depth, velocity and volume of water coming into Onondaga Lake
  • Partner with USGS for these services;  cost increased, federal government reduced its share,  
  • Service required due to various TDML’s (total daily maximum load)  – volume times concentration gives the load; gauge all tributaries going into the lake per mandate

 

In answer to Dr. Chase, Mr. Rhoads said that the service is performed by the USGS, and the county share has grown to 65%.  It is a 65/35 split with the county share at $74,830, which is budgeted annually.

 

        b.     Authorizing the Acquisition of a Portion of a Twenty-Four Inch Force Main from Honeywell International, Inc.

 

  • Discussed last month with public hearing resolution

  • Acquiring portion of 24” force main – would allow for conveyance of additional flows during wet weather form Westside Pump Station to Metro WWTP

 

In answer to Dr. Chase, Mr. Rhoads confirmed that the public hearing will be held just prior to the September 5, 2017 session and, if so moved, this authorizing resolution will be on the session agenda.

Mr. Rhoads thanked the committee for their support.

The meeting adjourned at 9:10 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Katherine French

KATHERINE M. FRENCH, Deputy Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

Attendance

 

* * *

PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MINUTES – AUGUST 9, 2017

BRIAN F. MAY, CHAIRMAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Dougherty, Mr. Ryan

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Liedka, Mr. Holmquist

ALSO ATTENDING:  Mrs. Ervin, Dr. Chase; see attached list

Chairman May stated this committee is a work session of the Legislature, and comments are more or less limited to those at the table. 

Chairman May called the meeting to order at 12:07 p.mA motion was made by Mr. Dougherty, seconded by Mr. Ryan to waive the reading of the minutes of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIEDA motion was made by Mr. Ryan, seconded by Mr. Dougherty to approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.

Chairman May took the agenda items out of order.

2.     SHERIFF:  Chief Kenneth Andrews, Civil Department

        a.     Transfer from Sheriff’s Office, Account 666500 Contingency, to Sheriff’s Office Account 693000 Supplies & Materials, $200,000

 

  • Release remaining $200,000 in contingency to Supplies; $198,000 short unless move money out of contingency

Chairman May stated the routine backup has been provided, and the department is doing very well in respect to their budget.  Everything looks good including a balance of overtime, which has usually been a big concern.  Mr. Dougherty agreed with Chairman May.

A motion was made by Mr. Dougherty, seconded by Mr. Ryan, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

1.     EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS:  William Bleyle, Commissioner

        a.     Authorizing the Execution of Intermunicipal Agreements to Share Onondaga County’s Master Site Server Located at the E-911 Emergency Communications Center

  • Authorize Onondaga County to enter into an Intermunicipal Agreement with Oneida and Jefferson Counties to share radio system master site
  • County currently pays $334,000/year to maintain master site including an upgrade every 2 years
  • Agreement with Cayuga, Madison and Oswego Counties to share cost; benefits include:  reduced County costs (divide maintenance costs), and provides radio interoperability between counties
  • Onondaga County is the major hub for trauma centers; i.e.:  ambulance from Oswego County can come into Onondaga County, and talk on portable radio to Oswego dispatcher; creates seamless radio communication
  • Approached by Oneida and Jefferson County; both building similar radio systems, and asked to share master site
  • Saves each county $1.5 million in upfront construction; also increases number sharing maintenance costs; maintenance costs do not go up by adding counties
  • Oneida to join next year; Jefferson joining probably in 2019; when a county joins, take master maintenance costs, and divide evenly; currently saving $251,000; with Oneida will save $267,000, with Jefferson will save $279,000
  • 2010/2011 is when E911 started working with other counties on this

Mr. Ryan asked if the maintenance costs will go down in next year’s budget; not 2018.  Mr. Bleyle responded it is subject to construction costs, and the agreement begins once they realize beneficial use.  It will depend on when it occurs next year.  Mr. Ryan said a reduction in expenses is a good thing, and it speaks to Central New York cooperating as one.  Mr. Bleyle agreed, and said there are a number of agencies E911 serves that have multi-county jurisdiction.  State Police can easily roll resources from any of the adjoining counties with compatible radio systems.  Mr. Ryan said some people say the County should not be sharing, but he disagrees. 

Chairman May appreciates Mr. Bleyle being proactive, and bringing these other counties on board.  It is nice to see intermunicipal cooperation.  It benefits financially, and the quality of emergency communication services goes up.  Mr. Bleyle appreciates the support.

Mr. Dougherty wanted to clarify for Mr. Ryan that this is not sharing.  The County is letting other people use an asset that has already been bought and paid for.  The truth of this is that the service only gets better, and Mr. Dougherty is all in favor. 

A motion was made by Mr. Ryan, seconded by Mr. Dougherty, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

3.     Opposing the Use of Solitary Confinement of Youths Incarcerated at Onondaga County Facilities (Sponsored by Mr. Ryan, Mrs. Ervin, Ms. Williams, Dr. Chase, Mr. Dougherty)

Mr. Ryan:

  • Purpose of this is to set up policy going forward; timeline for agreement County settled with NYCLU
  • When agreement ends, want a sound policy to prevent this from happening again in all County facilities; what was agreed to within settlement is now policy (happening at Justice Center)
  • Commend Sheriff Conway on getting policy adopted and moving forward
  • Do not think it should be happening, should have happened or should continue to happen; juveniles should not be in solitary confinement

Mr. Dougherty agrees with everything Mr. Ryan said, and is not in favor of juveniles in solitary confinement.  Sometimes it is necessary to remove 16-18 year olds from general population, and Mr. Dougherty understands there is not a better way of doing that yet.  The Legislature’s job is to find a better way of doing it.  The idea of a teenager being in solitary confinement for days or weeks is upsetting.  Mr. Dougherty is glad to see this put forward, and intends to support it in September.

Chairman May thanked Mr. Ryan for his work on this, and stated that he spoke with stakeholders and did some homework.  The Republican Caucus has not met to be able to discuss this, and the Chairman has been out.  Mr. May would like to share his thoughts:

  • Essence or purpose is to ensure County implements and abides by the terms of settlement across all detention facilities and out into perpetuity
  • Settlement was a challenging, good faith effort by all involved negotiating a solution everybody believes is fair; including defendants, NYCLU, Nationals, County; great result achieved, and addresses the problem
  • Agreement dictates treatment of youth going forward:  restricting solitary, new behavioral mgmt. system, access to education and mental health services, establishing a Youth Coalition Team (bring players together), and having a reporting and monitoring system (accountability)``
  • Good solution; all of which did not exist before; now it does
  • From Legislature’s standpoint, pressing support of settlement/terms through resolution is important and makes sense
  • Want to support and intend to; however, resolution needs more work; do not have that today (need to speak with Chairman and Caucus), but worthy of further discussion and evaluation
  • None of the concerns in language take away from intent or essence of what this is trying to accomplish
  • Example:  No mention of settlement in resolution; it should as it is the essence of everything going forward; determines how juveniles are treated; would like to see reference to that
  • Some language may or may not be extraneous to the matter, or not necessary to the purpose; talked about with Law Department who is looking at it; will give feedback shortly
  • Resolution has been discussed by this committee, and can go forward in September; asking as sponsor and co-sponsor to look at changes within next couple weeks and come up with an agreement
  • Would like to see something that is approved and supported by all Legislators; currently spotting things that may be outside the scope of the courts, which others may also see

Chairman May stated there will not be a vote on this today, as two members are missing, and he is not sure what it would accomplish.  Mr. May is talking about a vote at September’s session.  Mr. Dougherty said as long as it goes to session.  Mr. Ryan commented:

  • Goal to get to session; commitment to get policy done; this is about the kids, and setting up a policy that cares for them; as long as there’s a path to do this at September session, then okay; get it done for the first Tuesday in September
  • Working in settlement agreement (terms and conditions); County and plaintiffs agreed to it; whatever is done, make sure it includes all County facilities and references “lock in”, “administrative segregation” and “punitive segregation”
  • If working within confines of settlement agreement, then clearly stipulate what it is, or what it could be; state all County facilities going forward; will support

Chairman May wants to do it right, and see as universal a response as possible with all colleagues. 

Mrs. Ervin understands where Chairman May is coming from, but if this cannot be done in the next week and a half, then there is a problem.  Mrs. Ervin wants to make sure their caucus can have the changes in the appropriate time to react, and asked Mr. May to have this done as soon as possible.  Mr. May said no problem, and realizes that part of the commitment to have this on the floor in September means they have to move fast.

Mr. Dougherty wanted to add that the issue of personal safety for 16 to 18 year olds has not been addressed.  It is a very dangerous place, and as much as Mr. Dougherty opposes solitary confinement for punitive reasons, he does not oppose it for getting someone out of a dangerous situation temporarily.  This is not addressed in here, and it should be.  There should be language in this resolution defining when it would be okay.  Punitive segregation should not turn into segregation for safety sake, because it would allow them to skirt around the rule.  Chairman May commented that is why he would like to integrate the settlement; it specifies exactly how those situations are handled.  Chairman May agrees with Mr. Dougherty on this. 

Mr. Ryan will wait for the proposed modifications, and see how the settlement agreement will be worked into the resolution to cover what Mr. Dougherty discussed.  The paramount is to keep people safe.  Chairman May said there is a lot not being said right now including education, behavioral health, and the Youth Coalition; all of which are critical components to the settlement.  Those are integral in dealing with behavioral issues.  Chairman May’s one specific point is that the settlement must be mentioned, because beyond what the courts have done, there is not a lot more they can commit to.  Mr. Ryan is okay with this as long as it is ready for September.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:32 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Signature

JAMIE McNAMARA, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

Attendance

* * *

PLANNING & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE MINUTES - AUGUST 10, 2017

DEREK T. SHEPARD, JR., CHAIRMAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Mr. Ryan, Mr. Jordan

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Knapp, Mr. Plochocki

ALSO ATTENDING:  See attached list

 

Chairman Shepard called the meeting to order at 10:37 a.m.  A motion was made by Mr. Ryan, seconded by Mr. Jordan, to waive the reading of the proceedings of the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. Ryan, seconded by Mr. Jordan, to approve the minutes from the previous committee.  MOTION CARRIED. 

 

1.     CULTURAL RESOURCES TRUST: 

        a.     Confirming Appointments to the Trust for Cultural Resources of the County of Onondaga (Ann Clarke, Julie A. Cerio)

 

A motion was made by Mr. Ryan, seconded by Mr. Jordan, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

2.     COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT:  Susan Grossman, Housing Program Coordinator

        a.     Authorizing the Acquisition of Property Located at 209-217 Charles Avenue from the Onondaga County Housing Development Fund Company to the County of Onondaga, and Determining this Action to Constitute an Unlisted Action with a Negative Declaration under the State Environmental Quality Review Act

 

Ms. Grossman:

  • Property acquired from 2014 tax sale; transferring deed to Onondaga County, plan to build 4 homes and sell at market rate,  contractor will be given subsidy to build in the neighborhood
  • Deed transfer necessary to sell to the open market sale, fund company sales restricted to first-time, low income homebuyers

 

Mr. Ryan questioned why – to get a better rate.  Ms. Grossman said that it is part of a grant from Empire State Development.  Ms. Alexander said that the ESD grant is part of the larger Western Onondaga Lake Revitalization project; looking to sell to medium income buyers to improve Charles Avenue.  This resolution is simply to transfer the property from Onondaga County Housing Development Fund Company because they can only sell to first-time homebuyers.  Mr. Ryan said that this makes sense.

 

A motion was made by Mr. Jordan, seconded by Mr. Ryan, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

The meeting adjourned at 10:41 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Katherine French

KATHERINE M. FRENCH, Deputy Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

Attendance

 

* * *

HEALTH COMMITTEE MINUTES – AUGUST 10, 2017

DANNY J. LIEDKA, CHAIRMAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Dr. Chase, Mr. Holmquist, Ms. Williams

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Mr. Burtis

ALSO ATTENDING:  see attached list

 

Chairman Liedka called the meeting to order at 9:37 a.mA motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Dr. Chase to waive the reading of the minutes of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIEDA motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Ms. Williams to approve the minutes of the previous committee meeting; MOTION CARRIED.

 

2.     CHILDREN & FAMILY:  Amy McCluskey, Director of Youth Bureau

        a.     Authorizing Execution of Agreements with the City, Towns and Villages of Onondaga County for Operation of Youth Programs

 

  • Enter into agreements with municipalities for youth development services, recreation and service programs; doing since 2014 when state changed funding from going to municipalities to going through County

Dr. Chase asked if the department decides on the allocation, and Ms. McCluskey said no.  The state used to do it by population, and in 2014 when they left it up to the counties, the department kept the amounts the same.  Dr. Chase asked what the Village of Jordan does with $168.  Ms. McCluskey replied they buy supplies for their pool.

 

A motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Dr. Chase, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

1.     HEALTH:  Indu Gupta, M.D., M.P.H., Commissioner

        a.     Transfer from Health Account 641010 Regular Employee Salaries, to Health Account 694080 Professional Services, $123,096;

                Transfer from Health Account 691200 Employee Benefits, to Health Account 694080 Professional Services $55,496

 

Dr. Gupta heard Chairman Liedka was leaving, and wanted to thank him for being supportive and teaching her when she was new to the County. 

 

Dr. Gupta:

  • Unexpected openings occurred in MEO; one earlier this year and another in next few months
  • Requesting transferring funds to ensure services stay in the realm of what supposed to do to stay accredited
  • From 101, including fringe, to Professional Services to stay afloat

Chairman Liedka understands it takes time to fill the positions, and asked where these services come from to pick up the slack.  Dr. Gupta replied the Pathologists come from different counties.  Currently there are Pathologists from New York City who are helping to support the department, and Dr. Gupta is pleased with their services.  Chairman Liedka asked for elaboration on how it works.  Ms. Unger said they are Medical Examiners in New York City, who’ve been providing services to different offices in Upstate New York; as far as Erie and Monroe counties.  They have been helping cover services with the turnover that has occurred.  The Medical Examiners (ME) typically do four day weekends from Friday through Monday, and pick up whatever cases are handled in that time.  They are meeting the same standards and qualifications as the current ME at the County.  These ME’s are doing the same work, so it is not a huge leap to do the work here.  There is no one person capable of supporting this, so they work together to take different shifts and weekends. 

 

Dr. Gupta commented that it is not unusual to have service contracts.  It is a new business model that helps support facilities where there are less physicians.

 

A motion was made by Dr. Chase, seconded by Ms. Williams, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

        b.     INFORMATIONAL:  Public Health Updates – Dr. Gupta

 

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Ms. Mignano passed out orientation packets created for new members to the Legislature.

 

Dr. Gupta appreciates her staff who work very hard to do all of these things and create processes.  Chairman Liedka commented that Dr. Gupta came into the department, and kept the momentum moving forward.  The department is a joy to work with.  They handle a lot of different things at a lot of different times with grace, and the department is the pride of the County.

 

Dr. Gupta showed the committee the website www.ongov.net/health/, and the information available.  Dr. Gupta stated the committee has received a thumb drive with the annual report (on file with the Clerk).  If they did not receive the email, please review it on the thumb drive or on the website. 

 

Chairman Liedka asked Dr. Gupta to update the committee on mosquitos.  Dr. Gupta:

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  • Orange line on graph below represents 2017; trend has peak, then goes down; currently going down; have West Nile, and discussed with state how to handle - consensus is prevention; make sure people cover themselves

 

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Chairman Liedka thought this year would be a record year with the rain and warm weather.  Dr. Gupta said they remain vigilant, and get the info out right away.  Chairman Liedka asked if it could spike again (referencing the graph).  Ms. Letteney replied that it could go up, but it’s not likely.  It is the cycle of mosquitos; tend to peak, then go down.  It’s not to say that if they go down, they won’t have the virus.  Dr. Gupta commented when they received lots of questions on mosquitos last year, they added frequently asked questions to the website.  Chairman Liedka said it’s great that it’s there, because the number one thing people think is that the County has carte blanche to spray.  Dr. Gupta agrees, and said they should not do any intervention if they cannot justify the benefit.  There is a lot of things to take into consideration with whether to spray or not spray. 

 

Ms. Mignano stated the Health Department would like to formally tell the members that the Health Committee is the venue which they are using to give the Legislature the annual report via a thumb drive.  Chairman Liedka stated they will distribute this to all the members of the Legislature.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 10:32 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

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JAMIE McNAMARA, Assistant Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

 

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* * *

WAY MEANS COMMITTEE COMMITTEE MINUTES - AUGUST 28, 2017

DAVID H. KNAPP, CHAIRMAN

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:  4,5Mr. Kilmartin, 2Mr. Shepard, Ms. Williams, Mrs. Ervin, Mr. May, 1,3Mr.  Jordan

ALSO PRESENT:  Chairman McMahon, Mr. Burtis, Dr. Chase, Mr. Ryan, see also attached list

 

Chairman Knapp called the meeting to order at 8:54 a.m.

 

A motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Mr. Kilmartin, to waive the reading of the minutes of the proceedings of the previous committee.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.  A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Ms. Williams, to approve the minutes of proceedings of the previous committee.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS

 

1.     COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT:

        a.     Authorizing the Acquisition of Property Located at 209-217 Charles Avenue from the Onondaga County Housing Development Fund Company to the County of Onondaga, and Determining this Action to Constitute an Unlisted Action with a Negative Declaration Under the State Environmental Quality Review Act

 

2.     HEALTH:

        a.     Transfer from Health Account 641010 Regular Employee Salaries, to Health Account 694080 Professional Services, $123,096; Transfer from Health Account 691200 Employee Benefits, to Health Account 694080 Professional Services $55,496

 

3.     CHILDREN & FAMILY:

        a.     Authorizing Execution of Agreements with the City, Towns and Villages of Onondaga County for Operation of Youth Programs

 

4.     SHERIFF:

        a.     Transfer from Sheriff’s Office, Account 666500 Contingency, to Sheriff’s Office Account 693000 Supplies & Materials, $200,000

 

5.     EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS:

        a.     Authorizing the Execution of Intermunicipal Agreements to Share Onondaga County’s Master Site Server Located at the E-911 Emergency Communications Center

 

A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mrs. Ervin, to approve the items on the consent agenda.  AYES:  7; NOES:  0; ABSENT:  1 (Jordan).  MOTION CARRIED.

 

 

WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE REGULAR AGENDA

 

1.     FACILITIES MANAGEMENT:  Mary Beth Primo, Deputy County Executive-Physical Svcs.

        a.     Confirming the Appointment of Archie E. Wixson, Jr. at the Commissioner of the Onondaga County Department of Facilities Management

Chairman Knapp said that Mr. DeMore retired a short time ago, and Archie Wixson has been put forward to replace him as Commissioner.

 

Ms. Primo:

  • Mr. Wixson has been with the department for 7 years as deputy commissioner, served as acting commissioner the last 3 mos.
  • Has worked with Mr. Wixson for the last 3 years – during that time have seen quite a few projects to completion, including the Amphitheater
  • Mr. Wixson is responsible, professional, very knowledgeable – has been involved in all aspects of the department from the budget, personnel and overseeing projects

Chairman Knapp said that Mr. Wixson has done an admirable job as deputy commissioner and supports the nomination.  Mr. May agreed, noting that he has had a couple of chances to work with him.

 

A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Mr. Kilmartin, to approve this item.  AYES:  6; NOES:  0; ABSENT:  1 (Jordan).  MOTION CARRIED.

 

2.     WATER ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION:  Tom Rhoads, Commissioner

        a.     Authorizing the County Executive to Enter into a Contract with the United States Department of the Interior for the Operation and Maintenance of Stream Gaging Stations in the County of Onondaga

 

Chairman Knapp noted that the Environmental Protection Committee did not have a quorum this month and were unable to vote on these items.

 

Mr. Rhoads:

  • Has to be done as part of ACJ and total maximum daily load requirements with DEC/EPA
  • Routine contract; done every year; have to enter into contracts with the federal government – requires an IMA
  • Part of annual budget; gauge streams tributary to Onondaga Lake so we can measure the loads into the lake

A motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Mrs. Ervin, to approve this item.  AYES:  6; NOES; 0; ABSENT:  1 (Jordan).  MOTION CARRIED.

 

        b.     Authorizing the Acquisition of a Portion of a Twenty-Four Inch Force Main from Honeywell International, Inc.

  • Sewer pipe under pressure;
  • Was a 24” force main owned by the county and transferred to Honeywell to conduct their dredging operation in 2007
  • 2007 Operations required Honeywell to completely rehabilitate the force main
  • In re-doing the West Side Pump Station, it makes sense for the county to accept the portion from west side back to Metro, and adding additional conveyance connections
  • Creates having additional capacity through west side, capacity for growth through west side sanitary sewer system
  • Acquiring from Honeywell for $1 waived; no costs

Chairman Knapp said that Honeywell made quite a few improvement; Mr. Rhoads agreed – restored the line to pretty good condition.

 

A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Mrs. Ervin, to approve this item.  AYES:  6; NOES; 0; ABSENT:  1 (Jordan).  MOTION CARRIED.

 

1Mr. Jordan arrived at the meeting.

3.     FINANCE:  Tara Venditti, Deputy Director/Management & Budget

        a.     Refunding Bond Resolutions Dated Sept. 5, 2017 - Authorizing the Issuance Pursuant to Section 90.10 of the Local Finance Law of Refunding Bonds of the County of Onondaga, New York, to be Designated Substantially "Public Improvement Refunding (Serial) Bonds", and Providing for Other Matters In Relation thereto and the Payment of the Bonds to be Refunded thereby

  • Determination made annually as to whether or not there are callable bonds that can be refunded
  • This year $34.75 million 2013 bonds to be refunded – $3.2 million savings
  • Cost is spread over the next 10 years to see those savings

A motion as made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Mr. May, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

4.     LEGISLATURE:

        a.     Changing the Date of the November 2017 Legislative Session (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon)

Chairman Knapp noted that the November legislative session falls on Election Day.

 

A motion was made by Mr. Kilmartin, seconded by Ms. Williams, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

        b.     Calling for a Public Hearing on the 2018 Budget

Chairman Knapp said that the public hearing is scheduled for Thurs., Oct. 5th at 7:00 p.m.

 

A motion was made by Ms. Williams, seconded by Mr. Kilmartin, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

5.     MISC.:

Chairman Knapp noted that items 5a and 5b are two different local laws, competing, concerning outside income for county elected officials.  As they both hit the desks on Friday, a vote won’t be taken.  They will go to session.

 

        a.     A Local Law Amending the Onondaga County Charter and Administrative Code to Promote Good Governance for the Benefit of the County’s Citizens and Clarify Certain Terms Used Therein to Conform with Construction and Usage (Sponsored by Mr. Ryan)

 

Mr. Ryan:

  • Motivation behind this is good governance and adopting policies moving forward
  • Policies that speak to the heart of what full time electeds do
  • Late final changes were made which speak to full-time elected officials (last paragraph Section 1) and how they should devote their whole time/entire time – which needed to be clarified
  • The intent of the law is to amend the Charter to speak to and define what full time and entire time is and what the full time elected officials need to do in regard to the amended full time definition
  • It strengthens and clarifies, speaks to exactly how those certain elected officials go forward, limiting what they can do - outside income that they could be able to accrue, or that they can serve on boards going forward
  • Cleans up language that is currently misconstrued as ambiguous
  • Charter needs to be amended so it is crystal clear

Mr. Jordan said that this doesn’t really clarify it; it doesn’t define what full time is.  If full time, it is excluding external employment, but is not sure how that clarified what “whole time” is.  He questioned the purpose, goal of the change.  He asked if it is to be sure that a full time elected official is prohibited from anything other than things that are solely related to their occupation/employment with the County.  He doesn’t know that it says that.  He asked if it is targeting potential conflicts.  He said that he not sure that it does that either.  It is limited to full time employees; does it mean that if someone is part time, there is no possibility of a conflict coming up.  It talks about volunteer work – is it looking to ensure that all of their time is dedicated to duties of their position; that volunteer work is taking them away from/distracting them from their duties.  It excludes rental incomes – meaning that one could be managing 50 properties, making money off of it, but that doesn’t represent a conflict.  Or teaching at OCC or S.U., getting paid for it, but that doesn’t represent a conflict.  He reiterated that he isn’t sure what Mr. Ryan’s goal is.  

 

Mr. Ryan said that he is trying to accomplish setting forth good, responsible policies.  Currently no definition of full time or entire time exists; his goal is to define that.  It lays out what certain, full time, elected officials do and serve in their whole time capacity.  It is amended, clarified -- it is black and white in what they can and can’t do going forward.  Full time employees aren’t part of this; the law speaks specifically to the full-time electeds and what they have to do and should do in their capacity as full time electeds, and that they need to dedicate the whole time of their duties.  It is targeted to avoid any potential conflicts.  He believes that in the past, and recently, that there were and currently are conflicts -- noting that the Ethics Board believes this also.  This cleans up the language and resolves potential conflicts.

 

Mr. Jordan said that he doesn’t think that it does.  It is saying that if you are a full-time elected official, the intent is to define whole time as meaning that the full-time elected official has to devote 24/7 to the duties of their elected office.  Mr. Ryan said “yes, and also there are stipulations about serving on boards.”  Mr. Jordan asked Mr. Ryan if he is saying that “whole time” means that for the purpose provided is that he is trying to accomplish to make it clear that someone who is a full-time elected official has to devote their whole time to the duties of that office, and whole time is being defined that they are basically devoting themselves 24/7 to the duties of that elected office.  Mr. Jordan asked if that was correct.  Mr. Ryan said “holding any external employment beyond the scope of the official’s office – that is what is written in there.”  Mr. Jordan said that is not the question if the goal is to ensure that basically 24/7 their activities are dedicated solely to the duties of their office.  Mr. Ryan said “yes”.  Mr. Jordan said then by definition it would preclude them from being on voluntary boards, from having rental income/activities, or teaching at a college or university, because that is not related to their official duties. 

 

Mr. Ryan referred to targeting potential conflicts and gave an example:  If the County Clerk wanted to teach a class at OCC, he is not sure if that sets up a potential conflict, or is anyway, shape, or from is unethical; but if the County Clerk wanted to do part-time employment during the day, that potentially might conflict with “her offices of the clerk... or any elected.  If the Sheriff wanted to teach a class of public safety at night and that doesn’t conflict with his offices for duties, then I think we have to be relatively reasonable and look to see if that is a potential conflict of interest, which I would probably say that it wouldn’t”.  He said that if the County Comptroller or County Executive wanted to sit on the board of Vera House or McMahon-Ryan Child Advocacy… he doesn’t think that would be in conflict.  He provided another example:  if the Sheriff said “I am devoting my whole time and I am going to work part time for a security company that may or may not do business with the County of Onondaga, would lead to a potential conflict, which is currently not in the Charter, and that specifically is what I’m trying to accomplish.”

 

Mr. Jordan said that isn’t correct; it is in the Charter; the Charter already prohibits those types of conflicts.  Mr. Ryan asked “where; and if you are right it should be adhered to.”  Mr. Jordan said that if someone is doing that, it would be prohibited, “but this doesn’t do that… this is more broad brush, saying you can’t do anything.”  Mr. Ryan said that it is broad brush in the sense that it now clarifies the language.  Mr. Jordan said that it doesn’t clarify it at all.  Mr. Ryan said that anybody would say that the best contracts, or any part of an agreement, are the ones that are very specific.  The Charter currently is very, very ambiguous…”almost ambiguous to the sense that it doesn’t exist.”  He said that his intent is to amend and clarify the Charter by clearly stipulating what is allowed.  Mr. Jordan said that Mr. Ryan is not stating what the ultimate goal is.  He asked if the ultimate goal is to ensure that they dedicate their time, 24/7, to the duties of their office, or is the end goal to avoid conflicts.  He questioned what the end game is; all of these exceptions completely undermine what any intended end game would be.  He said that by allowing service on boards, teaching, or engaging in rental activities, is distracting from them from the duties of their office, if the goal is to ensure they dedicate 24/7 to the duties of their office. 

 

Mr. Ryan provided an example:  If the Sheriff were to work and receive income from a vender who may or may not have a contract with the County of Onondaga.  Mr. Jordan said that it already is prohibited under the current Charter.  Mr. Jordan said that this goes beyond that; it is saying any employment.  If he wanted to go bartend on a Friday night, he asked if that is a conflict.  Mr. Ryan said that it goes back to “whole time and entire time; these are full time elected positions and it is in the law.  Mr. Jordan reiterated his question, “what is the ultimate goal.”  Mr. Ryan said that it is to target potential conflicts moving forward – clarify the language.  Mr. Jordan said that allowing teaching or being involved in rental property activities could all be potential conflicts as well.  He reiterated that conflicts are already prohibited under the Charter – prohibits engaging in any type of employment that involves entities that deal with the county.  They are very clearly prohibited under the current Charter. 

 

Dr. Chase said that we have a policy with the Ethics Committee, which lays out all sorts of situations where people will be denied.  Rather than go to something that is going to be very inflexible, we need to look at the Ethics Committee; if we need to give them more strength in keeping to the rules, then we ne need to do that.  She said that we all know how hard it is to get people to step up and be involved in politics.  The more we put restrictions on what somebody can do, the less likely we are to be able to pull people into running for office.

 

        b.     A Local Law Amending the Onondaga County Charter and Administrative Code to Promote Good Government and Provide Clarification and Guidance Related to Countywide Elected Officials to Conform with Historical Construction, Practice and Usage (Sponsored by Mr. Burtis)

 

Chairman McMahon:

  • Worked on with Legislator Burtis – not meant to be competing with Legislator Ryan
  • Had discussions with Legislator Ryan ideas, concepts, ways to have a local law that addresses some of the concerns of the Ethics Committee, and something that takes personality out it and a way to apply it towards the future
  • It was a matter of timing – local laws had to go on the desks and season to be considered. 
  • Feels this local law is stronger and better
  • It defines whole time and entire time – difficult to define
  • One way of looking at whole time – is it 40 hrs., 50 hrs., 60 hrs.
  • When founding fathers created these positions, they wanted them to no longer be part-time positions; wanted them to be full time – their career
  • There is not the reality/perception of two different careers being performed at the same time
  • Creates a Charter Conflict Committee

Chairman McMahon read a portion of Section 2 (a) from the proposed local law:   Notwithstanding the foregoing, nothing contained in this definition shall prohibit a Countywide elected official subject to the “whole time” provision of the Onondaga County Charter from seeking an official opinion from the Charter Conflict Committee, created in this Local Law, as to whether certain nominal part-time employment, passive income, volunteer work, and/or similar type non-profit making positions, are excluded from the “whole time” provisions …. 

  • There are no exemptions in this; believes the exemptions that Legislator Ryan is trying to accomplish make sense, but there are exemptions that won’t be thought of today and may come down in the future – needs to be a process for that
  • No mention of fines in Legislator Ryan’s law; if someone is deemed out of compliance, there is no punishment.  If there isn’t going to be a deterrent, why would this issue be taken up
  • Charter Conflict Committee could hear and address some of the issues
  • Full-time elected officials aren’t allowed conflicts.  Occasionally a legislator will have a conflict, and they are supposed to get an opinion from the Ethics Committee or recuse themselves.  Legislators are allowed that, as they are part time.  Legislators get paid part time even though they work full time hours.
  • Full time electeds get paid full time; all but one make 6 figure salaries
  • Law creates a mechanism for any individual who has a question on whether or not they can serve on a board, have a passive income – can go get a professional opinion
  • If the opinion is rendered that what they are doing is not allowed.  If they break that opinion, a recommendation will come to the legislature to fine them for $1,000.

Chairman McMahon said that the reading of the Charter can be interpreted in two ways; it has been interpreted in different ways.  This brings some clarity and sets up a process where folks can go and try to make their case.

 

Mrs. Ervin questioned why there would be both the Ethics Committee and the Conflict Resolution Committee.  Chairman McMahon said unless the Ethics Committee were given more powers in the local law, they probably don’t have the legal powers to review some of these matters.  If this was about re-engaging and reforming the powers of the Ethics Committee, that’s one way to approach – that’s not the way this was approached.

 

Chairman Knapp referred to the makeup of the committee.  Chairman McMahon said that it is two legislative picks by the Chairman, confirmed by the Legislature; two picks from the County Executive, confirmed by the Legislature.  That is important – having the majority of the picks by a body that is not essentially under the scrutiny of the Ethics Board, makes a lot of sense.

 

Mr. Jordan feels this is an improvement over the other local law (item 5a), but still leaves things subject to potential politics and personalities.  If you are a disfavored person and apply for approval of some outside employment, a decision could be made less by whether there was a conflict or potential conflict and more by whether you are liked, not liked, politically favored, or not favored.  It is putting somebody at the winds of politics.  He gave an example:  if the County Clerk closes at 4:00 p.m. and wants to bartend on a Friday night – he doesn’t have any problem with that -- doesn’t think it poses any issue or creates any conflict.  To have the County Clerk come to a board to get approval for that job seems a bit onerous.  If she falls out of favor, then maybe something gets denied for no legitimate reason other than politics or personality.  To that extent, he doesn’t think it is appropriate or fair.

 

Chairman McMahon said that there are probably multiple examples that all could agree may not present a conflict; multiple examples that all would agree to present a conflict.  There are many examples that none in the room could think of at this moment that could be left for interpretation in the future.  He said this is not a perfect process; this is a better approach to address the issues brought to us and at the same time look to the future about how to do this.  Understanding that the emphasis on full time elected officials is to prove that it is not a conflict because of the way they are compensated.  The emphasis is on them to prove there is no issue and take that extra step.  He agrees the potential could be there where there are personalities that get in the way, but we deal with that every day.

 

Mr. Jordan said that right now there is a requirement to disclose if you are engaged in outside employment.  If obligated to disclose the outside employment it certainly gives the Board of Ethics, or whomever, the ability to say “wait a minute, we think there are potential conflicts here.”  If you want to tighten it up a little bit, they could disclose who they are working for and maybe go to the extent of disclosing the identity of clients.  Going to that extent would be preferable over doing what is proposed in the two local laws.

 

Chairman McMahon said that to the points of the disclosure and process, that process has gone through the full cycle and has heard from various sides on this issue, which feels that certain situations are out of bounds.  That is why there needs to be further clarification on an issue, done in a way where there is opportunities for an appeal.  This is one way of addressing it, it is stronger, has teeth – no point in putting legislation on the desks with rules and regulations if there are no penalties for those who break the rules.  This is a balanced, firm approach to the issue, albeit no legislation is ever perfect.

 

Mr. Jordan said that the current law could be changed to impose a penalty – don’t need to go to this extreme.  He said that regarding the comment that things are out of bounds, he doesn’t know that is necessarily true.  There are certain people who are out of bounds and may have ulterior motives to saying that they are out of bounds.  If it is truly out of bounds, there is other recourse.  If there is truly an ethical violation, there are legal repercussions that could come from that; if an elected official is engaging in unethical conduct, there are legal means for addressing that problem.  The fact that those haven’t been pursued is evidence of the fact that maybe sense of conflicts aren’t as justified or valid as is being portrayed.

 

Chairman McMahon gave an example, noting that the DA is a very good trial lawyer.  If the interpretation of whole time is 35- 40 hrs. a week, then currently the DA could go in his free time to Warren County or Albany County and do some defense legal work.  It is known how much preparation goes into those types of situations.  How does the taxpayer know that they are getting the whole time, best efforts of the DA in that scenario.  He said that currently the County Executive has a legal degree.  He asked if we want the County Executive moonlighting in town court doing parking or traffic tickets on nights.  He said that he doesn’t; maybe others do.  He said those are career opportunities and licenses that these individuals have that could pose a conflict with whole time.  It creates a separate layer of conflicts – who are you representing in town court and why were they chosen to represent.  

 

Chairman McMahon said that there is an issue to tighten the language, there should be ways to review the examples that Mr. Jordan brought up that probably present no conflict to whole time and the concept of whole time.  He said that a decent product has been put forward to be debated and will continue to debate it.  Mr. Jordan said that in the example, that would hold true for volunteer work and teaching jobs as well.  Chairman McMahon agreed; noting that there are no exemptions in the legislation.  If one wants to get on a board or be a part time professor, they would go to the Charter Committee for an opinion.  

Ms. Williams said that she partially agrees with Mr. Jordan.  If there is already a process for the Ethics Board, this language gets more political.  Someone comes before this committee, and they decide that you have done something wrong, and then a vote comes to the full legislature.  She agrees that if someone is favorable, you may or may not be fined.  Chairman McMahon said that the Ethics Board has the powers to address all of these issues right now.

 

Mr. Kilmartin said that part of the issue is the current Board of Ethics.  Originally the state passed legislation years ago which set forth a Code of Ethics, and a Board of Ethics; it passed it down to counties and municipalities.  It provided that a county shall have and must have a Code of Ethics, and it may have Board of Ethics.  To go through the current local law from 1990 about the Board of Ethics and Code of Ethics, it could be read pretty narrowly.  It says that the Board of Ethics shall receive and retain all of the filing statements for everyone that is obligated to do that.  They are like a depository.  A big part of the current law for the Board of Ethics is that an official, employee, or interested party has a concern about whether or not someone has an interest in a contract with the county, they can go to the Board of Ethics and say “I don’t know if I’m in bounds or out of bounds”, ask the board to render an opinion.  There are two areas that the Board of Ethics is actively involved in:  rendering opinions when there is a potential conflict of interest and retaining and holding as a depository those filing statements.  The local law goes on to say that there are circumstances when the Board of Ethics may fine someone for running afoul for filing statements – knowingly making a false statement in their filing, they can be fined by the Board of Ethics, subject to approval of the legislature.  Some people have a broad interpretation of some parts of the Code of Ethics.  Others have a more narrow interpretation, which might be part of Chairman McMahon’s structure of this.  Maybe the current Code of Ethics and Board of Ethics don’t have jurisdiction over these types of conflicts.  They might be limited by the current statute at the state level and the 1990 county law.

 

Mr. Kilmartin said the one approach might be to modify the local law in place for the Board of Ethics and the Code of Ethics.  A different avenue is to create a conflict type committee that addresses the types of current issues before us – whole time, entire time, and exceptions from that.  Legislators are the policy makers – can make no policy, create a different policy, modify other policies – have to working with the state and county laws, can’t run afoul from those.  Part of the issue is do we advance a policy for whole time/entire time with any exceptions, should there be no exceptions, should there be many exceptions, and then who decides if one is in bounds or out of bounds.  The Chairman’s and Mr. Burtis’s concept goes to creating a new committee that will hear specialized type issues about whole time, entire time, or exceptions.  It could be interpreted to be separate and apart from what the Board of Ethics does and Code of Ethics talks about.  Another theory might be to modify the Code of Ethics Law and the scope and scale of the powers of the Board of Ethics – have them look at more things, have express authority to do more things and analyze more issues. 

 

Chairman McMahon said that he assumes that was looked at, and decided not to do.  Otherwise, that would have been what Mr. Ryan brought forward. 

 

Mr. Ryan said his concern would be the potential subjectivity of this.  He referred to the example of an elected tending bar, and said he might have an issue with it if that bar was owned by somebody’s brother who has a contract with the county.  Maybe the elected wouldn’t get paid for it, but volunteer their services in exchange for something – maybe they have business that comes in front of Planning & Economic Development.  He said that his language speaks to independence – “if you are going to be a full time elected, then don’t do it.”  He appreciates the concept of the conflict committee, but questioned why set it up if you can go all the way to the back side and just don’t do it.  Secondly, if there was a potential conflict, maybe we could have or should have the Ethics Board have more power.  He said that he doesn’t know how to do that, it is a question for legal or hear from a member of the Ethics Board that is here.  Chairman McMahon said that assuming, considering how the Executive wrote the law initially, that the Law Department looked at that – assumes that was done. 

 

Chairman McMahon said that essentially this is a debate between the two laws.  He said that right now, under his law, there are no exemptions.  The Ethics Board members are all exceptional--have voted for every one of them.  Their appointments are made by the County Executive, confirmed by the Legislature.  The only difference is who is making the picks.  The legislature is making 3; the executive is making 2.  He understands that what is being said is that the politics might come into play, because we trust the picks that the executive puts forward more than what the legislature puts forward.  If this was about reforming the powers of the Ethics Committee; he questioned why Mr. Ryan and the executive team didn’t lead with that; why are we discussing this local law and going down this path.  If that is the case, he’s fine with it.  Correspondence has been received from the Ethics Board that says that there is a problem.  Mr. Ryan addressed it one way and put legislation on the table.  Chairman McMahon looked at it and immediately saw some red flags.  If a full-time elected official decides they aren’t going to abide by it, what kind of recourse do they have.  There are not fines.  With the local law that Mr. Ryan brought forward, the Ethics Board couldn’t put a fine on it.  They can only fine if someone puts a disclosure statement in late or inaccurate.  There is nothing in the law that says they can fine based on potential conflicts.  He said that if that is what we wanted to do, why didn’t the Law Department lead with that – this was the County Executive’s law that was drafted and Mr. Ryan agreed to sponsor it.  That’s how it played out.  If we want to give the Ethics Board more power, then we should restart it.  If we want to move forward, the only crux is that there are no exemptions in this law; everything has to come before it, and the board make up.  He said that if it’s the board make up that people are uncomfortable with, it’s a weak argument – the legislature has to vote on the names that are put up.

 

Mr. Burtis said that he appreciates the conversation, discussion, opinions on both laws.  He said he would be interested to hear from what the district attorney has to say.

 

Mr. Fitzpatrick addressed the statue as proposed by Legislator Ryan, item 5B.  He referred to Occam’s razor - the simplest explanation is often times the correct one--stating that this is a very simple concept.  If you are an elected, full-time official, that’s your job.  He said you can parse it – is it 24/7, which is an absurd discussion point because he assumes that the people that drafted the statute considered consumption of food, sleeping, coaching your kids Little League game, and going to a family barbeque.  He said that he sits on a number of boards-- McMahon-Ryan, Vera House, active in the National Association and the State DA’s Associations, Forensic Science Center Committee – all things that technically take him away from his office and wouldn’t fit into the absurd concept of 24/7.  They are intrinsically related to his duties of district attorney, and they are very good for Onondaga County.  As a result of his service on the State DA’s Association, there is 1,000 DA’s that come here and spend a minimum of 3 days eating, sleeping, and spending money at their summer college at S.U. 

 

Mr. Fitzpatrick said that there are five purposes to this law.  The first and foremost is for the chronically obtuse.  He agrees with Mr. Jordan that it already says you must devote full time and can’t have outside income.  That’s the purpose of the statute.  The reason there is so little case law on this is because nobody does it.  He provided examples, i.e. the County Executive of Erie County doesn’t have a part time massage business, etc.  The second reason is that people have a right to know who you are – it’s called transparency.  He said that there is a reason why Sheriff Conway and he love law enforcement – are on call 24 hours/day.  People have a right to know that the DA doesn’t run a part-time restaurant, or have multiple rental properties (for example).  The third thing is that you have to have the highest standard of integrity and ethics.  You can’t say “trust me, I marked this column on the Ethics Disclosure form; trust me there’s no conflict – you have my word on it.”  He said that’s not the way government works; it’s not the way that we work.  The 4th thing is – he referred to Legislator’s Chase’s comments that we can’t get good people to run.  He said that he disagrees.  He was in private practice for 5 years; made more in 5 years in private practice than he did in 20 years as an elected DA.  He said that he doesn’t miss it; misses the cash – would be nice for his family, but the taxpayers gave him a salary – he knows that is his salary.  He is not going around trying to supplement it with other things – that’s not the way it works – it’s not fair to them.  Finally, he said that we talk about conflicts - this just eliminates it.  There are no conflicts because they are eliminated.  “You can give me any example you want, and I’ll give you a potential conflict out of it.”  He gave an example:  What if the Sheriff is part time bartending and somebody gets charged with DWI leaving that bar by members of his department.  Or somebody in the DA’s office is bartending, and they have to prosecute.  Mr. Fitzpatrick said that rather play “let’s find a conflict game, or let’s not find a conflict” – this just eliminates it.  There are 5 reasons why the statute cast by Legislator Ryan should be employed.

 

Mr. Fitzpatrick referred to item 5b by Chairman McMahon.  He said that he is on the Ethics Committee; he would change it – give them more power.  Right now they are in a position to impose fines – doesn’t think that is enough keep.  There is a provision in law that the DA can petition to have an elected official removed from office should that elected official flagrantly disobey the law in a non-criminal manner.  That is a possibility; thinks it is a bit extreme, but $1,000 just doesn’t cut it.  He thinks there should be more input as to who appoints members to the Ethics Committee, and thinks the County Executive agrees with him. 

 

Mr. Fitzpatrick said that he prefers that there is an existing board – let them handle it rather than create an additional bureaucracy.  He said that he thinks it is well intentioned, but those details can be worked out. 

 

Chairman McMahon said for clarification, he originally tried to use the Ethics Board as the framework to do this committee, but the Law Department said that all of the picks have to be the County Executive’s picks.  Mr. Durr said that there is a specific provision in State law, Section 808, which specifically states that in this form of government, the Ethics Board picks are the products of the County Executive.  Mr. Fisher said that the County Executive is open to some other advisory committee where there is a nonpartisan sheen to it. 

 

Chairman McMahon said that the executive doesn’t get to write the local laws and vote on them.  Some of the concerns from members and others in the community have been that this is talking about a board who is responsible for monitoring full-time electeds.  For example, the Ethics Committee monitors the legislature.  It doesn’t make sense for the Legislature to pick all of the Ethics Committee members because they are the ones that legislators have to go to for opinions.  To have a board where we are specifically talking about the 5 elected officials county wide, that is made up of either 50% or the majority, by individuals that could potentially be regulated, doesn’t make sense to him as a policy maker.  He has made that known over the last week. 

 

Mr. Jordan agreed with Mr. Fitzpatrick that if the end goal is to avoid potential conflicts, then any type of outside activities should be prohibited.  Service on boards, teaching a class – those should also be prohibited.  If looking to eliminate any possibility of conflict, then it has to be across the board – you are dedicated to the position and that is it.  The legislation doesn’t do that – there are all of these exceptions, which undermines that goal.

 

Mr. Fitzpatrick said that the State DA’s Association would not exist without DA’s serving on it.  It is inherently related to his duties as DA of Onondaga County to serve on it.  There have been untold things that have happened and benefited Onondaga County because of his service on it.  He said that his service on the Forensic Science Commission has incredibly helped the Wallie Howard Forensic Science Center.  He holds it up as a beacon for every other lab in the country as to how a lab should run.  There is no inherent or even suspected conflict of him serving on those things.  They would cease to exist if you eliminated that type of service.  Mr. Jordan said that he is sure that there are situations like this, just like there are situations of employment where there isn’t any conflict.  The broad brush, across the board type things are good in some ways and bad in some ways.  He said that he doesn’t see where this legislation accomplishes anything. 

 

Chairman Knapp said that there is a lot to think about and digest over the next week before this comes to session.

 

        c.     Authorizing the Transfer of Tax Delinquent Property to the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon, Mr. Shepard)

Chairman McMahon:

  • Part of the old Syroco site in Van Buren has been abandoned, currently vacant, tax delinquent, off tax rolls
  • Transfers that site to IDA for current year taxes going forward
  • IDA can look at it for use for potential development
  • Towns are held harmless, property is not paying the taxes – County make the towns whole and County loses money every day when properties stay in this status

A motion was made by Mr. Shepard, seconded by Mr. Kilmartin, to approve this item.  Passed unanimously; MOTION CARRIED.

 

4Mr. Kilmartin left the meeting.

 

6.     PARKS & RECREATION:

        a.     Amending the 2017 County Budget to Make Funding Available for Vehicle Purchase for the Onondaga County Veterans Memorial Cemetery ($128,725)

Chairman Knapp noted that this item went to County Facilities a couple of months ago and was passed unanimously.

 

Mr. Lansley:

  • Use the Veterans Cemetery care account to purchase 2 vehicles
  • Have expanded the property and moving into more rocky terrain – not easy digging
  • Have had payloader there since 2004 responsible for interning about 4,500 veterans
  • Run into problems with the vehicle – about $11,000 in repairs over last 3 years
  • Won’t be usable when move into more rocky earth
  • Turn it in and get new John Deere 310SL backhoe loader and a 2017 Ford 350 pickup truck with plow package – expanding another acre this fall and putting a secondary roadway into the cemetery
  • Had a Chevy Express that was taken out of service approx. a year ago – was used for the cemetery and other parks
  • Keeping the cemetery in top condition and giving employees what they need to do their jobs

Chairman Knapp said that the veterans’ cemetery is a jewel of the county; always receiving favorable comments from the veterans groups about how it is maintained and run.  Money is coming out of the perpetual care fund, balance of about $303k; will be drawn down by $128k.

 

In answer to Chairman Knapp, Mr. Lansley explained that money comes into the perpetual care account when a plot is purchased – the fee is $500, $50 of it goes into an interest bearing account and the interest is what generates this money.

 

Mr. Jordan asked if it would be better to hold onto the current backhoe and have it available for lighter duties; perhaps avoid necessity to get additional equipment.  Mr. Lansley said that they have other backhoes in the Parks Dept., and have had to use them when this backhoe failed.  This one is getting towards the end of its life based on the repairs they have experienced on it.  Mr. Jordan asked if the repairs were because it was overstressed.  Mr. Lansley said that it wasn’t – it is an age thing – the hydraulics have given out several times; basic wear and tear.  There are better vehicles throughout the department that they move around, but want to dedicate a powerful vehicle to the cemetery to do the job at hand.

 

Mr. May asked how the account is normally used.  Mr. Lansley said that it has been for the expansion of property, and for vehicles in the time he has been here.  Mr. May said that it is a tough budget time; this is not a budgeted amount and appreciates that it is not drawing on reserves or creating any problems elsewhere.  He asked if there is any opportunity lost by making this purchase through this account – are we giving up an opportunity to do something else, or missing out on anything, or selling ourselves short for a downstream need.  Mr. Lansley said that they have looked at that; with $303k in the account this being something that is absolutely needed today.  There are still buffer dollars for the future; have used it very infrequently.  The property has been expanded about every 3 years for another acre.  At the point where they have to do that this fall, which should last several years.  

Chairman Knapp added that if there is a burial scheduled with family, the last thing you want is you can’t do it and have to pull another – there is an expense to that.  Mr. Lansley said that they often see multiple burials in a single day, up to 4 or 5 on a very busy day, not unusual to see 2 or 3 in a day.

 

Mr. Ryan asked if it has to go through Vehicle Use Review Board.  Mr. Lansley said that it did.  Mrs. Maturo indicated that approval from the board was not provided to her for the record.  Mrs. Venditti said that it would have to go through the board for approval.  Chairman Knapp said that a vote would be taken pending approval of the Vehicle Use Review Board.

 

A motion was made by Mrs. Ervin, seconded by Ms. Williams, to approve this item.  AYES:  6; NOES:  0; ABSENT:  1 (Kilmartin); MOTION CARRIED.

 

7.     CORRECTIONS/SHERIFF:  Eugene Conway, Sheriff; Ann Rooney, Dep. Co. Executive/Human Svcs.

        a.     A Local Law Amending the Onondaga County Charter and Administrative Code Regarding the Onondaga County Department of Correction (Sponsored by Mr. May)

Mr. Conway:

  • Only county left in NYS that has correctional facilities under 2 separate administrations
  • Sheriff manages correctional facilities in every other county in the state that has a Sheriff’s office
  • Erie County was the last one to have 2 separate administrations nearly 19 years ago
  • When coming in to office, was asked what he would do about potential overcrowding at the Justice Center – asked for a period of time to assess it
  • Came back to legislature with the feeling that an addition or a new jail was not needed
  • Came to understand the good working relationship between the Justice Center and Jamesville Correctional facility
  • Learned about the regulatory power of the State Commission on Correction (COC) – oversees all jail facilities in NYS and provide strict oversight about what you can do and can’t do  
  • Presently inmates are transferred back and forth to Jamesville – done under the permission of COC
  • Have to ask for a variance, permission, to the COC about every 6 months
  • Presently Commissioner Hanna, Dept. of Correction, has to ask for a variance to all some of the Justice Center inmates to be held at Jamesville facility
  • Variance letters also state that the COC is awaiting to hear of the final plan relative to space and the plan going forward
  • Variance is not needed where Sheriff’s have control over all of the facilities – Sheriff has ability to transfer inmates without getting permission from COC
  • Have to have people separated:  males from females, minors from adults – have situations going on that don’t always maximize full use of the facility; example:  Justice Center can hold upwards of 700 inmates, but there can be times when a pod or housing unit has 40 beds empty because there may only be 30 females in that pod and cannot mix with anybody else
  • Concern 2 years ago when so full that they had to board out nearly 20 inmates for a month – the cost was approx. $30k; have to look to another county – pay what their rate is
  • Sat on Public Safety Committee of Consensus Group – helped them understand law enforcement operation in county, served with Chief Barrette, SPD – brought in local police chief, state police, SPD to ask them questions; also asked Chief Barrette and himself to present suggestions.  One of his suggestions was to look at the possibility of Jamesville and the Justice Center coming under one management of the Sheriff
  • Misinformation has come out of it and learned a great deal from Erie County:
    • Misinformation that Correctional officers would become Deputy Sheriffs – not accurate
      • Have police, custody and civil deputies; have non-sworn people that are members of CSEA that comprise Sheriff’s office
      • Having correctional officers doesn’t change that situations.  There wouldn’t be – there is no plan to make the correctional officers deputy sheriff’s
      • Have vetted it out with State Civil Service along with the Co. Executive’s office
      • 2 exams – deputy sheriff’s exam for custody, and a Civil Service exam for Correctional officers – complete separate duties and responsibilities, separate salary schedules
      • Asked State Civil Service about moving forward with this whether it would cause any concerns, problems or violation with them; State Civil Service said that it did not – can continue as it is by it being under one management
    • Misinformation that initially it wouldn’t save much money
      • Wouldn’t put it out there that way – would put it out that we are heading off, hoping to prevent additional costs such as boarding out costs
      • Can’t say that boarding out will never have to happen, but this helps prevent that situation from occurring – prevents costs that could be in the range of $30k
      • There could certainly be operational savings – have started to look at it preliminarily; will be bringing them to the table going forward

Ms. Rooney said that this has been an ongoing project between ourselves and the community – between the County Executive side and Sheriff’s side to make sure that all issues on the table were addressed before they brought it.  She knows that time seems like we pushed it rather quickly, but as we got up in the face of a public referendum, and having to work the dates backwards to make sure that we met each of the benchmarks.  She said that she didn’t want anyone here to think that we hadn’t been working on this and is hasty in any way, but rather just to meet the deadlines of what has to happen with the referendum in November.  It makes sense.  Regarding the boarding out piece, it was fairly chaotic when it had to be done a couple of years ago.  It was female inmates and we didn’t have the capacity to serve in either of the current facilities because of the make-up of the various pods.  This gives the Sheriff the opportunity to maneuver in a much more nimble fashion and prevent that from happening. 

 

Chairman Knapp said it is not just the fees paid to Oneida County; it is also time, transportation, etc.  Mr. Conway said also inconvenience for family members or lawyers.

 

Mr. Jordan referred to the correction officers and sheriff’s custody deputies paid at different rates and is  concerned that if all he employees are under one umbrella, it is  a little bit more of an intimate arrangement and questioned if there would be increased internal pressures to equalize the rates between the lower paid rate and the higher paid.  Mr. Conway said that correction officers at Jamesville historically make less money than a deputy sheriff custody.  Prior to his administration, but since in office, on a fairly regular basis will get a lateral interest from correctional officers at Jamesville to come down to the Justice Center to become a deputy sheriff.   Some of it is the disparity in pay; some is the disparity in the work schedule – various attempts have been made over many years to try to have parity and in all accounts it has not been successful.  He said that he is not saying that this won’t be another opportunity for that to come up; in Erie County it was attempted.  It went to PERB and all of the way to the appellate division.  He said that they have all of those findings, all of those points that were clearly in the county’s favor.  To this day Erie County operates the way we are suggesting – maintaining the duties, responsibilities, and titles of Jamesville such as they are today vs. what we presently have with deputy sheriff’s custody. 

Mr. Jordan asked if there would be sub department within the Sheriff’s Department.  Mr. Conway said “yes”, adding that right now he has 3 departments within the Sheriff’s Office – Civil, Police, and Custody.  This would add a 4th department, which would be Corrections.  

 

Mr. Ryan referred to PERB, and gave an example of an inmate from the Justice Center that goes up to Jamesville.  He said that one could make the case as a correction’s officer that two hours ago that inmate was under the supervision of a custody officer, who makes more money that the corrections officer, so why wouldn’t the corrections officer be entitled to the same.  He asked if that is the nature of what went to PERB.  Ms. Berger interrupted the discussion noting that at this point each unit owns its own work.  To go further with this discussion could open up the possibility of things.  Mr. Conway said that the challenge was before he was in office, but obviously they abide and operate by what they are required to do when it comes to job duties, titles, and responsibilities.  That would not change at all; what would change would be the management of that facility. 

 

Mr. May said that these are really good questions.  He has asked a lot of the questions on both sides of the equation; there are some really good answers, but doesn’t know if they are appropriate for this meeting because of the collective bargaining situation.  

 

Dr. Chase said that this makes a lot of sense, but the problem is that a week ago it hit the papers and nobody at the penitentiary seemed to know anything about it.  She received a lot of calls from employees there that wished that somebody had had a conversation with them about what was going on and what the plan was.  Right now there are so many rumors running around, when a little conversation about “this is kind of how we are going with this” might have squelched a whole lot of that. 

 

Mr. May said that this was new to him also.  He thinks the urgency or pace of schedule has to do with the fact that ultimately it is the voters’ choice of whether this happens or not.  The fact we are seeing it today and moving forward so quickly is to ensure that the effort complies with the process. 

 

Mr. May said that in speaking to what is being proposed, the Sheriff said that it’s common sense; feels it is more than that.  All come from different walks of life; he tends to look at a lot of stuff from a purely business standpoint; this is just good business.  Instinctively are able to identify opportunities to save and become more efficient.  While initially some of those savings may be small, the long range gains on this initiative will be more substantial, particularly in the way we will be able to operate, comply, make autonomous decisions as opposed to regulated decisions about simple day-to-day business.  All of that comes with inherent savings and streamline management.  Presently there are two silos, each working with respect to the other with one arm tied behind their back because they can’t coordinate as easily or effectively as they will be able to downstream.  He commends everyone for moving this forward; knows that the pace is inconvenient and troublesome for some and many that may be affiliated with the process, but thinks the end result will be positive for the taxpayers of Onondaga County.

 

2Mr. Shepard and 3Mr. Jordan left the meeting; 5Mr. Kilmartin returned to the meeting.

 

Mrs. Ervin agrees that it makes more sense.  She has concerns about the Justice Center, noting that some inroads have been made there to change some behavior, and asked if there will be some negative impacts to Jamesville.  Mr. Conway said he was not sure what Mrs. Ervin meant by negative impact, but will certainly give it the same attention that he gives the Justice Center and other departments as far as how it is run, and being run in a professional, appropriate manner.  Mrs. Ervin said that there are safe guards at the Justice Center; there is nothing like that at Jamesville and asked if that can be expanded.  Mr. Conway said that the responsibility they have given to the JCOC up until this point has really almost become a full time positions for a custody command person already.  He will certainly conduct an assessment at Jamesville to determine what its greatest needs are, if there are any.  Mrs. Ervin said that there are groups and members that are concerned and to be aware that there is an issue.  Mrs. Ervin said “corrections is corrections” in this whole group of philosophy of what happens, and asked if it will be maintained regarding the educational piece, programming piece; will it be similar to what is happening now; will at the Justice Center be similar to what is happening at Jamesville.  She said that she does not know exactly what happens at either place, but is hearing that there is a different approach at Jamesville than there is at the Justice Center.  Mr. Conway said that the medical is the same as the Justice Center, the food is the same; there are programs and services at Jamesville that are similar.  He knows there are differences in the ways those are run.  The Justice Center has the City School District.  Ms. Rooney said that everyone at Corrections has been sentenced; there is a more long-term effort with some of the inmates; that may be the main difference, but Syracuse City School is at Justice Center and BOCES Educational Opportunities are at Jamesville.  The footprint at Jamesville is bigger – a little more opportunity for things, i.e. Second Chance.  The fact that the inmates are there long term has some differences in programming, but they are very similar because of the work that is done every day between the two facilities. 

 

Mrs. Ervin asked what pitfalls Erie County saw when they did this.  Mr. Conway said that basically the county executive came into office there and realized very quickly they didn’t want anything to do with the correctional facility.  It has to be changed in the Charter and go to public referendum.  They dealt with the titles, duties, responsibilities, Civil Services wise.  He said that they continue to talk to them about Onondaga County moving forward and what they experienced; so we are are prepared for those obstacles or can avoid certain hurdles by knowing what they went through and experienced.   

 

Chairman Knapp asked if the folks from Jamesville ever had to be brought down to the Justice Center.  Mr. Conway said that he didn’t know, but it that were necessary they would have to get permission in the form of a variance.

 

A motion was made by Mr. May, seconded by Ms. Williams.  AYES:  5; NOES:  0; ABSENT:  2 (Jordan, Shepard).  MOTION CARRIED.

 

        b.     Submission of Proposition to the Vote of the Qualified Electors of Onondaga County on November 7, 2017 (Sponsored by Mr. May)

Chairman Knapp said that this is the companion legislation because it has to go to referendum in November.

 

A motion was made by Mr. May, seconded by Ms. Williams.  AYES:  5; NOES:  0; ABSENT:  2 (Jordan, Shepard).  MOTION CARRIED.

 

8.     WAR MEMORIAL/ONCENTER:  William Fisher, Deputy County Executive

        a.     A Resolution Authorizing Improvements to the Onondaga County Convention Center Complex, in and for the County of Onondaga, New York, at a Maximum Estimated Cost of $4,500,000 and Authorizing the Issuance of $4,500,000 Bonds of Said County to Pay Costs Thereof (Sponsored by Mr. McMahon, Mr. Dougherty)

 

Mr. Fisher distributed the following:

War Memorial Project Cost Estimates

 

PROJECT / ITEMS

Updated Cost Estimate (8/27/17)

Previously Funded?

Fully Funded after $4.5 mil. Bond authorization?

Veterans Kiosks and Gold Star Mother Exhibit

$190,000

Yes

Enhancements to Veterans Exhibits - Memorial Hall and Concourses

$250,000

Assembly Hall Suites

$3,500,000

Yes

Assembly Hall "Officers Club" - Conversion of the space above Memorial Hall, creating a club-level experience for veterans events and live events within the Arena.

$500,000

Marquees (5) with outdoor LED screens {War Memorial (3),  Convention Center (1), and Theaters(1)}; and LED Screens within Arena (Center Hung Scoreboard; (4) Ribbon LEDs; (6) Press Box LEDs; (11) Arena portal LEDs; and Video Control and Storage Systems.

$2,000,000

Yes

Security System (Cameras - installed and networked)

$500,000

Restroom Renovations

$500,000

Concourse Improvements; and Concession Areas Renovation/Redesign

$500,000

Concourse Lighting

$250,000

War Memorial Exterior - Repairs and Cleaning

$200,000

War Memorial Landscaping - Enhancements

$100,000

$8,490,000

Mr. Fisher:

  • Last month the Syr. Crunch and SMG, with County working closely with them, are negotiating an extension to Syr. Crunch lease
  • Have 7 years to go; have agreed to extend it for 12 years including this upcoming hockey season
  • Crunch said that that the addition of suites is required to succeed here
  • The arena is where viewers are sitting now, Memorial Hall and Assembly Hall are on top of it it behind those suites
  • Entrance to the suites will be from Assembly Hall and about 11.5 feet built into Assembly Hall; the seating itself comes out of the rink area seats
  • Some seats underneath will be blocked – will lose some seating, but will be able to clearly walk underneath there
  • Food & beverage service delivered into the suites; significant opportunities for premium food/beverage sales – currently negotiating with the Crunch on the split

Mrs. Ervin asked if all of Assembly Hall will be taken or part of it.  Mr. Fisher estimated that it will be about one third of it or a little less than that.  Also, is a plan being made to upgrade Assembly Hall.

  • Veterans Kiosks –$190k appropriated last June - kiosks are on order; Gold Start Mother Exhibit – done
  • Enhance to Veterans Exhibit – Memorial Hall and Concourse – not much to honor veterans since the Korean War; focus exists on WWI, WWII and to some extent Korean War
  • Believe, as does the Veterans Committee, a need to upgrade narrative, visual in stories to include more recent services ($250k); don’t have funding – think there are sources of grant funding that will come forward
  • 6 Assembly Hall Suites – for hockey games subject to lease between Crunch and County; also available for concerts and other live events – not Crunch’s rights ($3.5m)
  • Coming up on time crunch to deliver suites for 2018/19 hockey season – need to be under contract by Thanksgiving per Archie Wixson, Fac. Mngt.; need to have this voted on at Sept. 5th session
  • Will have to come back and ask legislature to accept grants if there are some at the state level – hope to come to Sept. County Facilities Committee for an October vote

 

Chairman Knapp asked about the bowlers coming in March and if they use the War Memorial at all, and how big of an impact will lit have on the Silver Knights.  Mr. Fisher said that parking will be the biggest impact on the Silver Knights and the Crunch from the bowlers, but not so much the building.

 

  • Assembly Hall entry to suites create a quandary and an opportunity because the room is being made smaller.
  • Room has nice murals and tiny kitchen area, but it’s not great; veterans use it once a month or more for meetings; hockey team has some events there
  • Looking at converting it to a more level experience, especially having seen how well the VIP Club at the Amphitheater performs; looking at officers club theme
  • A lot of neat architecture in War Memorial going back to the early 1950s that uses aluminum, art deco – build an officers club in that space and make it look like a Korean War era with modern amenities, sound, warming kitchen, bar; service members can meet and use the club for whatever they want whenever they want
  • When there is a live event it can serve as pre-function space – have premium food and beverage offerings; Crunch is open to the idea that the County would retain the bulk of food and beverage profit margin from that space – looks like a good revenue opportunity for us
  • Met with Regional President for Live Nation and his premier sales lead last Wed.; they are very excited about the opportunities this would offer for concerts or VIP sales, premium food/beverage
  • Perhaps renaming it – not with any kind of sponsors – this area and Memorial Hall below it is off limits for the sponsors; this is all about the veterans but also want to create an opportunity for profit margin for live events
  • No funding source – thinks grant makers are very interested
  • Marquees – previously approved 3 yrs. bond financing total of $1.5 million for 2017-2019; of that $875k was for marquees in CIP; $1 million from the $4.5 million will be used to complete the financing -  not only for marquees, but to have outdoor LED screens tied into same video system, add a marquee to convention center and theaters.  Will have a much larger, 4 panel high resolution scoreboard in middle of the ice; replace ribbons; 11 concession areas – replace plastic signs with LED signs; adding 6 LED screens near the press boxes
  • Other items not required to use bonded funds at this point:
    • Updating security system; restroom renovation, concourse improvements, concourse lighting, clean/repair exterior of building, enhance landscaping
    • Very comprehensive, compete upgrade that will take all the way up to next hockey season
    • When done will have a War Memorial that looks and performs far better than it has since 1951 when it opened
    • A 12-year commitment – make it something we are proud of


12

3

4

 

5

6

7

 

Mr. May said that $5.5 million is presented for the two items that would be bonded for.  Mr. Fisher agreed adding that there is already $1 million set aside for the marquees; bonds cover about $870k; have capital reserve and facility use fees set aside that get them to the rest of it.  Other source of funding would be facilities use fees.  He said they are negotiating with the Crunch for putting an additional facility use fee on their tickets – going to increase that fee and put on some other tickets; it’s not really their money, but it goes on their tickets.

 

Mr. Kilmartin recapped the financing and said that the bond will tackle the suites and marquees; the $2.8 million will be from facility use fees, maybe grants, and try to pick off the other miscellaneous items.  Mr. Fisher agreed.  Mr. Kilmartin referred to the $2.8 million and the items that will be advanced, and asked if they are in the budget for 2018 or 2019, or is it as they go.  Mr. Fisher said that they hope to know what the state legislature are working on regarding grants by the Sept. County Facilities and Ways & Means meetings.  He said that they hope SMG has completed the lease extension with the Crunch, which tells exactly how many facility use fees are coming in.  The legislature would need to authorize the imposition of that fee.  Mr. Kilmartin said that the goal would be to nail down the grants as soon as possible, resolve issues with the facility use fees, and maybe by the end of the year have specific plans for the miscellaneous bucket.  Mr. Fisher said they would like to have the rest of it for October session – want to be able to tell hockey fans and everyone else what is being done with the building; and have it all done before the legislature votes on next year’s budget.  

 

Mrs. Ervin asked about the things at the bottom of the list, i.e. restrooms, and asked if they will be done this year.  Mr. Fisher said that he is very confident that they will close a lease with the Crunch.  If the grant makers come through with the numbers, there will be fully funded sources for everything seen on the list by October session.  Chairman Knapp asked if restroom renovations will be after the season.  Mr. Fisher said some of that might start; there are 16 or so bathrooms; you might seem some of them closed for renovations – not going to put it off.  He explained that once the legislature votes, the financing is there.

 

Chairman McMahon said that the grant sources should be known very soon.  This is a very real comprehensive plan; it reaffirms our commitment to the facility.  The talk of a new arena is over with this.  It is very similar to the type of investment that Binghamton and Utica received.  He said that we are hodgepodging it together and they received it all from the state.

 

Chairman Knapp asked that if we waited, would there be any chance of getting any more from the State next year.  Chairman McMahon said that they asked for the state this past year to include the types of numbers similar to Utica and Binghamton in the budget.  The state sources are coming from our delegation rather than the budget itself.  Also, part of the leverage over the Crunch for the extra five years is the suites for next season.  If we delay, we aren’t going to be able to hit that.

 

Mrs. Ervin referred to the marquees, screens, etc., noting that someone came to the session last month to talk about the RFP process.  She asked if that has been resolved.  Mr. Fisher said that it has not been fully resolved.  The RFP Committee, led by SMG, made a decision but has not completed the award.  They look to our lawyers and their lawyers to make sure we are doing everything correctly.  One vender that did not receive a notice that they had won, came and spoke and was told that they could be disqualified just for speaking about it.  He said that they have not been disqualified.  The other vendor, “which we believe was charged with some things like planning to bring in foreign labor and all this stuff, that just isn’t true” has been negotiating with SMG.  The Law Department will help us make sure that we have done this correctly and lawfully.  At minimal risk, there will be some disruption in the process by litigation.  The main thing holding it up from moving forward is that we don’t want the County Executive to sign a contract when we don’t know where the money is coming from. 

 

Chairman Knapp asked if the plan is to have the marquees up soon.  Mr. Fisher said that the goal was to have 3 marquees up by opening day; it is probably unlikely that will get done.  Marquees can be renovated and LED panels can go on there while other things happen – will see that happen during the course of the season.  Once marquees start to go up, they will also be seen on the Civic Center Theaters and the Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center.

 

Chairman Knapp called for a motion.  Mrs. Maturo advised that only a draft has been submitted; there is no final resolution.  Mrs. Berger added that bond counsel will need to prepare the bond resolution.  Chairman Knapp stated that it has been considered.

 

9.     PURCHASE: 

        a.     Revenue Contract Report - NONE

 

10.     COUNTY-WIDE SHARED SERVICES PLAN:

        a.     Informational - William Fisher, Deputy County Executive

 

Chairman Knapp said this is information only; there is nothing to vote on and no vote is needed to accept anything.  It was set up in state legislation; the legislature’s role is to receive it, look at it, and if the legislature has any recommended additions, deletions, or changes, a vote can be taken at session next Tuesday.  It would then go back up to the County Executive, who can either keep those changes or take them back out.  It then goes to the committee of town supervisors, mayors, etc. for a vote on the whole package. 

 

Mr. Fisher said that this is not an executive initiative; it is completely up to the legislature whether it does anything or not.  It requires the County Executive to deliver a copy of the Shared Services Plan to the legislature by August 1st, which happened

 

Mr. Fisher provided a County Wide Shared Services Plan to Ways & Means Committee members, version 1.1.

 

Mr. Fisher distributed the following:

 

County-wide Shared Services Initiative

(Enacted by Part BBB of Chapter 59 of the Laws of 2017)

28 4. a. Such property tax savings plan shall contain new recurring prop-

29 erty tax savings through actions such as, but not limited to, the elimi-

30 nation of duplicative services; shared services, such as joint purchas-

31 ing, shared highway equipment, shared storage facilities, shared plowing

32 services, and energy and insurance purchasing cooperatives; reduction in

33 back office administrative overhead; and better coordination of

34 services.

35 b. The chief executive officer of the county shall submit such proper-

36 ty tax savings plan to the county legislative body no later than August

37 first, two thousand seventeen. Such property tax savings plan shall be

38 accompanied by a certification as to the accuracy of the savings

39 contained therein.

40 c. The county legislative body shall review and consider the county-

41 wide shared services plan submitted to it in accordance with paragraph b

42 of this subdivision. A majority of the members of such body may issue an

43 advisory report making recommendations as deemed necessary. The chief

44 executive officer may make modifications to the plan based on such

45 recommendations. If modifications are made by the chief executive offi-

46 cer, he or she shall produce an updated certification as to the accuracy

47 of the savings contained therein.

 

Mr. Fisher:

  • Have to certify that there are recurring savings
  • Have to submit to the legislature; legislature shall review and consider and may issue an advisory report
  • Legislature can recommend deletions, additions – no limitations, but it is just an advisory report
  • Co. Executive then revises her plan or not
  • Then it goes to the panel comprised of City mayor, 15 village mayors, 19 town supervisors, 18 members of people appointed by school boards and BOCES – 54 total panel members
  • Co. Executive will give the panel a final version of the plan; panel members will vote on Sept. 12th or 13th
  • Plan has been updated since version 1.0, which was delivered to the legislature; now is version 1.1
  • A lot of feedback from mayors and supervisors – they didn’t like the “Consensus stuff” being in the plan because there weren’t specific numbers
  • Have moved almost all of the Consensus recommendations to its own appendix; still in the plan, but they aren’t going to vote on it unless there is something with specific numbers for a specific town, village, city or county
    • i.e. Consensus recommendation was to take the jail and Corrections and put them together, but no savings have been claimed when it’s time for the state to hand out matching money – so it will be in the plan, but not in the calculations
    • Some updates – some towns, villages came back with specific information about the savings around the proposals they put forward
    • Version will be updated again just before the vote
    • Version 2.0 will be the subject of the vote on Sept. 12 or 13
    • Co. Executive has to certify it, submit it to the budget director by Sept. 15th, and issue a report to the community by Oct. 15th
    • If it is voted down, it has to be done again next year – working hard to make sure it passes

Mr. May said that it is impressive that colleagues in local governments came through with specific recommendations; it is useful.  He sees a lot of what they are doing already.  He said he commends what they have done and have put on the table for us to look at.  Mr. Fisher said they met four times, and invited the Co. Executive one time; there was some back and forth.  It all settled down and a lot of good information was exchanged.  They are doing a lot; the appendix shows pages of what they already do.  The school districts did also and gave an example which led to the Greater Syracuse Shared Services Council (Part 5 Version 1.1).

 

Mr. May asked if there will be some direction provided on how feedback and recommendations are going to come in, as the next move is to vote on this.  For the record, he asked how the legislature is going to get it done and how the process will work. 

 

Chairman Knapp said that communication is good; this is a good exercise – getting everybody together.  The folks in Cicero may not know what the folks in Spafford are doing.  Sharing ideas is a good thing; is glad everyone took it seriously and put in some good recommendations and have something to work on.

 

Chairman Knapp said that the Legislature’s Veterans Advisory Committee will meet next week.  Mr. Fisher will come to the meeting and give a tour, and talk about the specific changes.  All legislators will be invited.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:12 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

8

DEBORAH L. MATURO, Clerk

Onondaga County Legislature

9

 
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