Posted at: 01/08/2013 11:31 PM
By: Dan Levy
ALBANY - With 39 members, the Albany County Legislature is the largest legislature in New York State. Albany County Executive Dan McCoy wonders why Albany County needs that many lawmakers when Erie County is getting by with just eleven.
"I just compared us to Erie County because they have 900,000 residents and we have 304,000," McCoy points out, "Do we have too many? Do we need less?"
McCoy won't say what the right number might be, but he thinks the county's eleven member charter review commission, which was empanelled last year to begin updating the document that defines the shape and operation of county government, needs to seriously consider a drastic down-sizing.
"A lot of people do like the fact that they know their county legislator," McCoy says, "but we have to do what's right for the people and to get a 2% cap we have to look at things differently."
McCoy served in the legislature for 12 years prior to becoming executive. Cutting the size of that body has been suggested before, by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, but never gained traction.
"When I became county executive, I said we have to be progressive and we have to be open-minded," McCoy asserts, "We have to look at things differently."
McCoy says there should be "no sacred cows", no "hidden agendas", and nothing in the name of changing Albany County government that should be off limits by the commission, including term limits on the job he now holds.
"If that's what they want, we should deliver," he says.
The charter review commission meets for the first time Wednesday night. The deadline to complete their work is July 1st.
Any major changes to county government would have to be approved by the legislature and by voters.