Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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May 20th, 2011

Bring county executive issue to a vote

The issue of whether Sullivan County should or should not elect a County Executive must be decided by the voters this year by means of a public referendum. Stonewalling must cease.

A majority of legislators have said they would support such a referendum, whether they support the creation of such a position or not.

Now is the time for at least one legislator to come forward and have the guts to boldly make a motion to place the issue on the ballot for this November’s election.

There is no need for a charter review commission to make any recommendations, there is no need for a petition drive, and there is no need for any excuses. The legislature has the power to do so and the timing is before they start their own political campaigns.

All one legislator has to do make a simple motion that states, “The voters of Sullivan County shall vote by special amendment on Election Day November 1, 2011 the following: “Sullivan County shall amend its charter to create the full time position of an elected County Executive taking office January 2013. The term of office will be for four years. The appointed position of County Manager will be eliminated once the County Executive takes charge.”

Outspoken Sullivan County advocate Sean Rieber headed a bi-partisan and prestigious fact finding committee that looked into the County Executive position.

The committee did extensive research and weighed the issue from every feasible angle. A long list of experts was interviewed. Their ultimate conclusion supported the creation of a County Executive position and called for the issue be put up for immediate debate followed by a vote by the electorate.

Rieber said, “We need a representative that is elected by and accountable to all residents of the county. While some argue this is simply more government, the fact is that it is simply the third branch government and creates a system of checks and balances.”

“Opponents argue it is too expensive and that we can’t afford it right now. However, can we afford not to do it? We are currently paying $4.5 million per year in extra “fees” for the landfill due to 25 years of mismanagement, but we can’t pay for accountability?”

The committee’s research claims the office can be created and adequately staffed to provide solid leadership for approximately $200,000 per year. There are many potential savings that can dramatically decrease that amount.

Creating a County Executive does not mean County Manager David Fanslau is not doing a good job. The problem is he is not his own person. He must report to and be told what to do by a part-time legislature of nine. The position of County Executive also pulls more weight in places like Albany. Besides, Fanslau can always run for County Executive and really lead us if he chooses to do so.

Will one member of the legislature have the guts to bring the County Executive issue to a vote so that it can get on the ballot by November’s election? What do you think?

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