Board to discuss proposed districts

FONDA – The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors will conduct a special meeting Tuesday to discuss a local law establishing legislative districts, while committees will meet after to discuss the pay rates for the legislators that will take over at the end of the year.

At a previous meeting, some supervisors said they were confused about changes to the proposed districts’ layouts, and by the lack of maps at the meeting for the districts.

In November, Montgomery County voters approved a new charter that will change the county’s form of government. The charter calls for a county legislature and an elected county executive. The charter replaces the current system of a Board of Supervisors with nine district legislators.

During a January Board of Supervisors meeting, it was decided a Committee of the Whole meeting would be called to discuss the layouts of the districts and establish a final draft of maps for the districts.

During the public hearing in January, Montgomery County Democratic Committee Chairwoman Bethany Schumann-McGhee spoke out against a shift in the districting of the city of Amsterdam. Almost 1,900 residents – 1,492 from in the city of Amsterdam – would be in different districts than originally proposed. She said the proposal would move the residences of Amsterdam Republican Committee Chairman and 1st Ward Supervisor Vito “Butch” Greco and Barone into separate districts. She said that would mean Barone and Greco would not have to face each other in the primary.

“Whether this was an intentional act or a coincidental occurrence after a good-faith attempt to correct a perceived problem, the Board of Supervisors should endeavor to show the residents of this county that its actions are non-political,” Schumann-McGhee said during the hearing.

“I never asked anyone to alter the maps,” Barone said. “The lies and innuendoes are getting ridiculous.”

Board of Supervisors Chairman and Root Supervisor John Thayer said he was sure no rigging of the districts occurred.

Pay rates

Montgomery County Education and Government committee members also will discuss pay rates for new legislators.

Pay rates for the legislator, chairperson, and county executive were undetermined when the charter was approved, and the pay for those positions will be discussed Tuesday.

According to the 2013 budget, supervisors make $10,000 a year, while the chairman of the board makes an additional $5,000, totalling to $155,000 between all 15 members of the board.

Thayer said this morning Glen Supervisor Lawerence Coddington put together a package that shows examples of what other counties have paid for their legislators.

Coddington could not be reached for comment this morning.