Hearing set on citywide council elections

GLOVERSVILLE – Proposals for a city-manager form of government and for citywide Common Council elections are shaping up to head to voters this fall.

The council voted at its meeting Tuesday to set a public hearing for Aug. 26 on the citywide council elections proposal.

Officials indicated they expect the seven-member council will have the five-member supermajority needed to override Mayor Dayton King’s expected veto of the city-manager proposal.

Last week, King announced he intended to veto the council’s recently-passed local law to allow city voters to decide in November if they want a city manager.

King said today he still plans to veto the city-manager proposal. The mayor said if he does not veto the city-manager proposal, it will go to referendum with or without the citywide elections proposal.

“I want it to go to referendum only if the citywide elections go to referendum, and I do not think [the council] will pass the citywide elections if they can’t get the city manager position as well. If they really want the city manager, they will allow the elections. So, this is really leverage to make this happen,” King said.

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In a July 22 vote, the council sent a proposal to establish a city manager form of government to voters in the Nov. 4 general election.

Under the city-manager form of government, a council-appointed manager would be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the city. Currently, the mayor handles many of those duties. Under the proposal, the mayor would be a member of the council and preside at meetings.

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

Under the city-wide election proposal favored by the mayor, the top votegetters throughout the city would take seats on the council, regardless of which ward they live in.

Ward 1 Councilwoman Robin Wentworth said she felt the only reason King opposed the city manager proposal was because he wanted to keep “a $42,000 a year job [he] can show up to whenever [he] wants.”

“I’ve made that statement before, and I stand by that. This city manager has been discussed for many years and by other councils, This is not a new idea. … You are speaking out of both sides of your face,” Wentworth said.

The July 22 vote was 4-2, with councilmen Arthur Simonds and James Robinson voting against the measure.

King said he is urging Simonds and Robinson to vote in favor of the city-manager plan when it is brought up again after the veto.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Simonds and Robinson indicated to Wentworth they would support the city-manager proposal.