John Franck Goes Bold On Charter Change

At a recent meeting of the Charter Review Commission John Franck offered a major change for the new charter.  He wants to add two “commissioners” to the city council.  These positions would have no administrative responsibilities.  They would in effect be simply legislators.  Commissioner Franck said that while he believed in the commission form of government, he believes that the advocates for that last charter change proposal had an argument very much worth consideration.  He acknowledged that he agreed that there were people who felt intimidated by the responsibilities of running a department.  His idea was to offer people interested in serving on the council a way to participate without the burden of administrative management.

There was some discussion about whether to call them “commissioner” in light of the fact that they would not run a department.  Commissioner Franck said he would prefer the title of commissioner but the label was less important than the principle.   It was agreed that while there would need to be some support for the new positions the costs would be minimal.  It was also suggested that the salary for these positions might be less than the other commissioners.

 Based on the response from the other members of the Charter Review Commission and those in the audience it appeared there was strong interest.  Still, it was agreed that it was an idea that required a thorough review to explore its full potential implications. The charter commission’s lawyers are exploring whether such a proposal would be allowable under NY State law and will be reporting to the  commission at tomorrow’s (Tuesday) meeting.


13 thoughts on “John Franck Goes Bold On Charter Change”

  1. Kudos to Commissioner Franck and those on this Commission to entertain efforts to address concerns from those advocates of the previous panel that will assure a lively discussion. Interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. His idea would bring about charter change…’s not their charge, they were assembled to update not to fundamentally change the system that the voters voted to keep, can we please stop this grandstanding!


    1. Charter Review Commission is charged with reviewing (ideally once every 10 years) the Charter making evaluations and suggestions. The last time this was done, modifications to the existing charter were made. That their discussion is open to the public twice monthly is transparency enough. It’s an idea, certainly not “grandstanding”.


      1. It’s not an idea, it’s a square peg that doesn’t fit in a round hole…the voters don’t want change they want status quo…..update is the charge not change, time to respect the vote.


    2. Charter “change” would involve making a significant change to the form of government. This suggestion by Commissioner Franck is would not be doing that. Rather it would make modifications to the current form of government. Also, rather than grandstanding, it seems as if Commissioner Franck is working to be inclusive of many ideas including those put forth by those who insisted their main concern was having members of the City Council who would not be motived to vote based on their own department’s needs. Having two members who have no department could effect a checks and balance. While I would need to hear more and think more about this I think challenging Franck’s motivation on this is grandstanding in its’ own right.


      1. Nah. John’s wrong, and it’s a bad idea. His job is still safe. Want to know why? Just answer this question: When’s the last time a non-accountant ran for Commish of Accounts here?

        It’s things like this that demand the charter needs to be changed, and it can’t be done with a commission form of government.

        You have NO idea how much I wish those that ran with the charter changed simply stuck to common sense like this above rather than personal vendettas and attacks.


  3. I had suggested that the Council be expanded to seven voting members with the two supervisors serving on this capacity.

    Chris Mathiesen

    Liked by 2 people

  4. No brainer here: NO!!!

    EVERY seat should NOT have administrative duties (mayor aside). There MUST be separation of legislative and administrative, end story. Without that, this becomes a “fail”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ouch. That rigidity of thought in this exploratory discussion is exactly what paralyzed the last panel.


      1. No. This one is common sense. Adding a couple more spots is ok, but the number one issue is still that separation. I’ve said that to the commissioners as well. It can be an unfair advantage without a doubt (like an accountant as a commissioner of accounts as a perfect example). And that isn’t a knock on John either (whom I like personally). Look at that scenario though – it’s still a power hold on those 5 seats. That’s wrong. The seats should – and HAVE to be – equal. And by that, I mean at election time.

        I also agreed with Chris (he hasn’t stated it here, but has publicly) that it’s hard for say, a dentist to come an run a dept. such as public safety. It shouldn’t be like that. We elect legislators, not administrative management.


  5. Chris,

    Your idea is better than John’s. I still have a LOT of issues with this however (the main one being that separation). But this makes sense since we already paying the supervisors (and more than the council members at that), and they are already at the meetings anyway. It saves us $28k a year as well.

    But we HAVE to get that separation. HAVE to, or it will fail and we’ll have the fighting begin once again.


    1. I agree that the City would be better served with one of the more common versions of local municipal government. In the mean time, expanding the Council to seven members would improve diversity and hopefully help to erode some of the inherent conflicts of Commission government. Most of the other members of the Board of Supervisors are directly involved in governing their municipalities. Our Supervisors have little direct involvement. They could be much more useful as voting members of the Council.

      Chris Mathiesen

      Liked by 3 people

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