Should city change its structure?

GLOVERSVILLE – The city is considering two options to change the structure of its government.

On Tuesday, the Common Council agreed to schedule a guest speaker to come to a meeting in June to discuss a city manager form of government.

Mayor Dayton King, meanwhile, introduced an idea to eliminate the ward restrictions within the council and have open citywide elections for all the seats on the council.

“I’m more interested in electing all of our council members in citywide elections, similar to the way we just voted for school board members,” King said.

The city currently elects six of seven council members from each ward. The seventh is a councilman-at-large representing all wards.

King said in larger cities such as Rochester, Syracuse and New York City, having council members representing each specific part of the city is essential because the issues are different throughout the sections.

However, King said, the issues in the first and second wards of Gloversville are the same as the fifth and sixth wards.

“We are fighting to reduce taxes, increase services and create jobs,” King said. “We want to reduce blight and provide a safe community for everyone who works, lives and visits Gloversville.”

King said this change would allow multiple people from a particular ward to lead the city as members of the council. The current system of ward elections only gives one person from each ward the opportunity to be on the council.

Under his plan, he said, the top three vote recipients would win four-year terms and the fourth-, fifth- and sixth- highest voter getters would win two- year terms.

“I propose that the Common Council pass a local law, with a mandatory referendum for this year,” King wrote in a letter. “If the city voters approve, the 2015 council elections would be for six council members from throughout the city.”

First Ward Councilwoman Robin Wentworth said she agrees the city should consider every option, but she would like more information on the mayor’s suggestion.

“We can never have too much information,” 6th Ward Councilman Wrandy Siarkowski said.

In April, Wentworth brought up changing the form of government from the mayor overseeing the day-to-day activities to having a city manager replace the mayor and the commissioner of finance.

Wentworth said she has invited Jerry Faiella, executive director of the New York State City/County Management Association, to attend a meeting June 24 to answer any questions department heads or elected officials may have about a city manager form of government.