At Last, Election 2012

I will very likely be liveblogging events tonight; to help conversation, I will not be moderating comments so as you comment you will see them appear. I still maintain the right to delete comments that don’t pass the bar although I expect that to not be an issue.

Before the conversation switches to who is running for 2016 , here is info on the Montgomery County Charter from the page located here.

I’m getting a fair amount of traffic dealing with the charter so hopefully this helps people get it sorted out. I think it deserves a YES vote. I’ll be interested in turnout on the charter vote. Remember kids: everyone complains how government works but when it comes to making changes, no one ever seems willing to venture forth. Should be interesting:

By Orrie Eihacker, Charter Commission Member
Montgomery County does not currently have a charter.
Montgomery County is organized under a structure that has been
relatively unchanged since the 1700s. Out of the 65 counties in the
state, only nine other counties use this structure. Because the
responsibilities and expenses of running a county are vastly more
complicated and higher than they were 200 years ago, our current
form of government is no longer the most efficient way to meet the
these challenges.
A county charter sets up the basic structure and organization of
county government. A charter allows for a clear separation between
the legislative authority, that is, who sets the direction of the county,
and the administrative authority, that is, who makes the day-to-day
decisions on running the county. It allows for a more efficient
operation than the current system.
The charter calls for an elected County Executive. The County
Executive would be elected by the voters of the county as a whole to
run the county. The County Executive would be in charge of day-today operations. He or she would appoint department heads, (subject
to approval by the legislature) and oversee their operations. This
would be a big change from the current system. Currently, the
department heads have to answer to all 15 members of the Board of
Supervisors, with the result that there can be conflicting input about
the direction of each department. A County Executive would
eliminate this inefficiency. The charter also calls for the County
Executive to be the chief budget officer, with the assistance of an
appointed Commissioner of Finance. The County Executive would
be responsible for preparing and submitting the annual budget to a
legislature, for their approval.
The charter also calls for a 9-member County Legislature. This
would replace the 15 member Board of Supervisors. The Town
Supervisors who currently sit on the Board of Supervisors would
continue to be Town Supervisors. They would no longer have to do 7/20/2012
double duty and could more fully concentrate on their town duties.
The County legislators would be elected only to serve on the County
Legislature. Their only job would be to run the county and to solve
problems that affect the county as a whole. This would eliminate any
potential conflict between town interests and the interests of the
county as a whole. Most importantly, each legislator has an equal
vote. No more weighted votes. This is because they would be
elected from new voting districts. These new districts will each have
about an equal number of residents. This means a much more fair
system of representation for all of the residents of Montgomery
County. For the future, the charter calls for an independent
commission to conduct redistricting after each 10 year census. The
County Legislature would be responsible for the annual budget and
for passing local laws and resolutions. The County Executive could
veto the decisions of the County Legislature, but the County
Legislature could override the veto. This means that there is a clear
system of checks and balances.
The Charter does not affect the city and the villages at all. The
city and villages will continue to have the same governments.
The Charter is important because it sets up a more efficient and
responsive county government, and one that allows us to meet future
challenges with accountability and responsibility.
The Board of Supervisors will vote on whether to put the
Charter on the ballot. If they agree, it will be on the ballot in
November 2012. In order to pass, separate majorities in the city and
in the towns must approve the charter. If it passes, there will be
elections for the County Executive and the County Legislature in
November 2013. The Charter will go into effect on January 1, 2014.

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