Mayor to veto city-manager proposal

GLOVERSVILLE – Mayor Dayton King said Friday he plans to veto the Common Council’s recently-passed local law to allow city voters to decide in November if they want a city-manager form of government.

“I don’t think we need a city manager,” King said.

The seven-member council would need a five-member supermajority to override the veto.

But King also issued a public statement Friday indicating he may have enough political sway on the council to eventually present both the city-manager proposal and his own proposal for citywide council elections so the public can have dual referendums in the fall.

“In efforts to encourage the Common Council to allow citywide council elections on the ballot, along with the city-manager proposal, I will be vetoing the local law that was passed by a 4-2 majority last month,” King’s statement read.

The mayor was referring to the council’s July 22 vote, in which a local law passed to send a proposal to hire a city manager to a public referendum in the Nov. 4 general election. The proposal calls for the city to change to a city-manager form of government, in which a council-appointed manager would be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the city.

Currently, the city’s elected mayor, King, handles many of those duties. Under the proposal, the mayor would be a member of the council and preside at meetings. The proposal also calls for establishing an assistant city manager position, which would be filled by an existing city department head.

The July 22 vote was 4-2 to revise the city charter to create the city manager government. Council members Wrandy Siarkowski, Robin Wentworth, Jay Zarrelli and Ellen Anadio voted yes, and members Arthur Simonds and James Robinson voted no. Third Ward Councilman Stephen Mahoney was absent.

Simonds said Friday he’s in favor of both the city manager and citywide elections proposals going before the voters.

“I’m not really in favor of either one of them,” he said, but he wants the voters to have their say.

If the city-manager referendum is approved by voters, the new form of government would take effect Jan. 1, 2018, after King’s term expires. The referendum on the ballot will ask voters, “Should the city of Gloversville revise its form of government to that of a city manager?”

Wentworth decried the possibility of King’s veto, noting the council’s plan for a city manager-type of government was thought out.

“I think it’s unfortunate because the information was presented, a proposal was done and a lot of work went into it,” she said.

She said King is taking the public’s right to vote on the proposal away. Wentworth added that King has “presented nothing as far as a proposal” for citywide elections.

“It’s a lot of unanswered questions,” she said.

King said he has up to 30 days after the local law was enacted to veto the legislation. He didn’t say when he will be doing that, but he said he will probably do it before Aug. 26.

In his statement, he laid out his intentions. The mayor noted: “Previously, Councilman-at-Large Robinson and Councilman Simonds voted no and Councilman Steve Mahoney, who was absent from the last meeting, has assured me that he will be voting no on this referendum should I veto it as well.”

King said on Tuesday night, Robinson will present legislation to create another local law in favor of citywide council elections and Simonds will second it. Simonds indicated Friday that scenario is set. Under that proposal favored by the mayor, the top votegetters throughout the city would take seats on the council during elections.

“On Aug. 26, after a public hearing on the citywide council elections, the council will vote to put it to the referendum,” King stated. “If it passes, the three council members who previously have said no can say yes and allow both to go to a referendum. If it doesn’t pass, I anticipate they will say no and there will not be a referendum to change our city government this November.”

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.