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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October 12th, 2018

Sullivan County Legislature Appears to Be Duping Public On Staggering Legislative Terms

It appears the Sullivan County Legislature has duped the residents of Sullivan County into believing that the terms of our legislators would be staggered in time for next November’s elections.

Although all legislators have said time and time again that they support and want to stagger their terms – the clock is quickly ticking.

County Attorney Cheryl McCausland and her office has done all the due diligence to make it possible to stagger legislative terms. They have carefully worked out every possible scenario – But legislators who face reelection next year refuse to budge and have swept the issue under the rug for months ultimately guaranteeing that all legislators seeking reelection next year will be running for four-year terms.  

If you recall, The Charter Review Commission (of which I was a member) met for over two and a half years looking into our form of Sullivan County Government.

Among the recommendations of the Charter Review Commission was the need to stagger the terms of our legislators and to change our government to include the position of an elected County Executive.

Sullivan County Legislators welcomed with open arms the concept to stagger legislative terms for almost two years now – but have also stonewalled any attempt to bring the issue to a vote.

The reasoning for the need to stagger the terms of legislators is simple. The past election cycles have seen voters dramatically change the legislative body forcing a dramatic learning curve on legislators and a slow down of the operations and leadership of Sullivan County Government.

There needs to be some sort of consistency in running our county government and kicking out all our elected officials in one single swoop does not always work – Because a hired County Manager is left with needing direction from those elected to political office to run our government.

We need elected officials who are familiar with the running of our government, and County Charter and Codes.

In March, the legislature was expected to vote on the concept of staggering legislative terms and set up a permissive referendum which would entail holding a public hearing on the matter that eventually would have made it law before the next legislature election in 2019.

At issue according to Legislature Chairman Luis Alvarez is how to stagger the terms.

The Charter Review Commission after much discussion, review, research, and hearings suggested that the best way to stagger the terms is to have five legislators run for a four your term in the 2019 elections and four legislators run for a two-year term in the 2019 elections.

After that election cycle all legislative seats will be for four-year terms and in cycle with countywide elections.

For some reason, some legislators wan to stagger the terms in the 2019 election with three four-year terms, three three-year terms, and three two-year terms. And, then everything would be back on a four-year cycle. That concept is ridiculous, would not work, and take us out of Countywide election cycles. It would also interfere with the hiring of a County Manager, County Attorney, and hiring of other key officials. It would also make it difficult to change the leadership of the legislature if it is so desired.

The votes are there to support the five/four concept, but for some reason it has not been brought up for a vote.

Staggered terms must be approved – and if it is not approved quickly for 2019 – Voters next November must treat those seeking reelection accordingly.

Below is the Resolution Passed by the Charter Review Commission to Stagger the terms of the Sullivan County Legislature.

Resolution Introduced by the Sullivan County Charter Review Commission to Change the Terms of Office of Elected County Legislators.

Whereas, the duly appointed members of the Sullivan County Charter Review Commission have met regularly since January 2015 for the purpose of, among other reasons, evaluating the efficiency and functionality of county government, and

Whereas, the commission members have heard testimony from numerous county officials and outside advisors, and

Whereas, during these hearings, it has been suggested that the possibility of having a large number of newly elected legislators taking office at the same time has the potential of disrupting the smooth functioning and continuity of county government, and

Whereas, the commission members have duly deliberated on this matter of staggered terms, and

Whereas, the commission members have come to the conclusion that having the duly elected legislators’ terms of office not run concurrently is in the best interests of county government, now

Therefore Be It Resolved, that the commission members do hereby recommend that elected county legislator’s terms beginning with the next general election for said positions be staggered in such a way that four randomly selected legislators run for 2 year terms and then for four year terms at the end of those terms.  The other five legislators terms would remain the same.

Moved by Mr. Burckard, seconded by Mr. Walter, put to a vote and carried 10-0 with Mr. Harding and Mr. Sutherland absent.              


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COUNTY OF SULLIVAN)                  

I, MICHELLE HUCK, Secretary to the Sullivan County Charter Review Commission, do hereby certify that I have compared the foregoing copy of a resolution with the original thereof now on file in my office and that the same is a correct transcript therefrom and of the whole of said original.

WITNESS my hand and seal this 16th day of March 2016. 



                                                                                                                                                 SECRETARY TO THE S.C. Charter Revision Commission


Bill Liblick has made a name for himself on 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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