The Mindblowing Hypocrisy of the Common Council and Their Supporters
From today’s Recorder (State deadline, veto threat City approves use of money in sewer fund):
The Amsterdam Common Council introduced a local law Tuesday amending the city charter to allow the transfer of sewer fund revenues to the general fund in hopes of closing a budget gap.
The mayor is threatening to veto it, however, which could grind the process to a halt because state legislation is required to approve the transfer, and the legislative session ends June 17.
Let’s think through what the Council’s actions represent:
1) They have amended the Charter on their own.
2) They apparently have amended the Charter because Corporation Counsel has issued an opinion stating that the Council can indeed amend the Charter per their authority.
3) Their plan to take money out of the sewer fund in currently not within their authority. In terms of the Council supporters , this action would be termed “illegal” as the Council requires state legislation to take money from the fund.
4) The Council makes no mention of a referendum or any other interest in “listening to the people”.
The above are the Council’s actions in this instance. Let’s contrast it to their actions on the issue of the charter and legal counsel when the very same Council was faced with the city operating an ambulance service:
1) The Council asserted that they could in no way amend the Charter per local law as advised by Corp Counsel. Instead, the Council discredited the Corp Counsel’s opinion to make it appear that the power to change the charter required a referendum. As shown above, the Council does have standing and authority to amend the Charter.
2) The Council and their supporters, when faced with the charter question, deemed that any act of the Council to change the Charter was “illegal” to accommodate the ambulance service. Yet, in the issue above, the Council is clearly and without question making a change to the Charter that is currently “illegal” as state legislation restricts them from the very act they wish to pursue.
3) The Council framed their opposition to considering the ambulance service as based upon “the will of the people” and that any act of changing the Charter required a referendum even though it is more than clear that the referendum on the ambulance service would not comply with Municipal law. So the Council hides behind “the people” and referendums on the ambulance service but gladly proceeds with charter changes not only against the charter but against state legislation in this case.
4) The Common Council took every opportunity to discredit and dispute their authority vis-a-vis the Charter per the Corp Counsel’s guidance. In short, they placed no confidence in Corp COunsel’s opinion and publicly discredited Corp Counsel’s legal advice on the ambulance service. Apparently, none of the shortcomings in Corp Counsel’s legal opinions on the Charter, state law and referendums come into play when dealing with the sewer fund. Not a single bad word about Corp Counsel here.
The above goes to show that this has absolutely nothing with preserving the integrity of the Charter or “the will of the people” or referendums or anything resembling sound governance.
It all boils down to whatever gets the Common Council political advantage in the upcoming election. They’ll do whatever it takes to give you a piddling tax cut today even if it means shredding the Charter and forcing your taxes way higher down the road.