It has now been more than six months since Meg Kelly became mayor. In my own assessment, she has shown extraordinary leadership. Prior to her tenure the council had been plagued by contentious meetings that ran on interminably. Under the mayor, the meetings are run efficiently in the best sense. They are not only collegial and much shorter, but the important issues are not lost as a result of unnecessary conflicts and rambling, unfocused reports.
The value of her leadership is best expressed by the quality of the work being done by her Charter Review Commission. It is interesting that the mayor’s decision not to be on the commission probably contributed to the collegial nature of the commissions deliberations. It sent a message that revising the existing charter should not be marred by petty issues of control. Her appointment of Vince DeLeonardis added to this. In the past, city attorneys often functioned as a kind of weapon by mayors. In the case of Mr. DeLeonardis, his fairness and probity has established real trust among the commissioners.
I have edited out a section from a video of a recent meeting. This excerpt focuses on how the IT (Information Technology) should operate within the structure of the city. The discussion explores the idea of establishing IT as an distinct department potentially outside of the Finance Office where it now resides. It would not have been surprising if this discussion were marred by resistance from Commissioner Madigan and her deputy, Mike Sharp over the loss. Instead, the proposal to reconsider the issue of IT is initiated by Sharp.
The video is not terribly dramatic but that is because of the thoughtfulness and lack of grandstanding in the discussion. Around the table are representatives of all the city’s departments including three of the commissioners themselves. The viewer will note that everyone participates in the discussion and their comments and suggestions are thoughtful and representative of the well grounded knowledge of how the city operates.
The Charter Review Commission will be holding a hearing on Tuesday, August 21st at the City Center (the event had to be moved due to the fire. Below is a press release from the city:
MEDIA ANNOUNCEMENT 2018 CHARTER REVIEW COMMISSION CITY OF SARATOGA SPRINGS
City Attorney Vincent J. DeLeonardis Charter Review Commission Chairman email@example.com
MEDIA ANNOUNCEMENT: 2018 Charter Review Commission Update Date: August 15, 2018
Saratoga Springs, NY — The 2018 Charter Review Commission (“CRC”) will hold its second public Forum on Tuesday August 21th at 6pm in the City Council Room, during the regularly scheduled City Council meeting. The purpose of this Forum is for Commission members to hear input, concerns, and questions from City voters on the proposed Charter crafted by the CRC over the past several months. The current draft is available for review on the City website. At the start for the Forum, the CRC will present the results of a recent survey completed regarding the proposed expansion of the City Council from five to seven members. For those unable to attend in-person, the Forum can be watched via the City website.