Press release issued February 18, 2017

Charter Review Commission ironing out final details

Now in its ninth month, the Saratoga Springs Charter Review Commission discussed remaining structural elements to its proposed new charter that will go before voters on May 30.

“We are getting very close.  I know citizens want to see the final product as soon as possible,” said Bob Turner, Commission Chair. “While we have the main provisions of the charter, there are a number of important details we have to get right.”

The proposed charter has a seven-member city council and a city manager form of government. The Commission’s current goal is to instill a system of checks and balances and professional government in the document, which would dictate a new direction for government functions over the next decade.

The Commission went line by line through a model charter provided by its legal counsel, Bob Batson, Government Lawyer in Residence at Albany Law School. Commission members also carefully examined council-manager language in the Oneonta and Canandaigua charters in order to tailor responsibilities that best fit the Spa City’s needs.

“We want to use the best research available,” said Laura Chodos, Commission member. “Our decisions are also informed by what we heard in dozens of interviews conducted since June.”

“Our goal is to minimize the politics of administration and partisan bickering,” said Beth Wurtmann, another member.

Major decisions made by the Commission this week include:

  • Approval of a preamble
  • Duties of the city manager
  • Appointment and responsibilities of the city attorney
  • Decision for seven-member council to be elected to ‘at-large’ seats

At its next meeting on February 23, 7pm, City Hall, the Commission will develop the role of the ‘dynamic mayor,’ in the proposed council-manager form of government, as well as recommendations for a beginning salary structure for manager, mayor and council. There will be a public comment period, and citizens are encouraged to learn more about the Commission atwww.saratogacharter.org.

Media Contacts: Beth Wurtmann (518)321-4607 and Minita Sanghvi (336) 210-3258