Rochester, New York – June 4, 2013. Democrats in the Monroe County Legislature today applauded the first meeting of the Charter Review Commission, which is required by law to be empaneled once every five years. Despite this requirement, there has not been a Charter Review Commission since the Republicans took control of the County Legislature in 1993. Democrats also reiterated their hope that the Commission will operate transparently and encourage meaningful citizen involvement.
“As the Democratic member of the Commission, I feel it is critical that we take a look at things that are currently required by law—such as the Human Relations Commission—but which do not exist,” Legislator and Commission Member John Lightfoot (D-Rochester) said. “We need to ensure this county workforce is sufficiently diverse and this is the perfect opportunity to address those needs. For those reasons, I know that the Republican members of the commission will operate openly and cooperatively.”
Legislator Justin Wilcox (D-Brighton), the sponsor of the proposal to bring the legislature in compliance with the law, also applauded the first Commission meeting, but is troubled by the appearance that the Commission is stacked with Republican insiders.
“While it’s certainly positive that the legislature is complying with the law, we need our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to act in an open, transparent manner when proposing changes to the charter—which serves as the bedrock of county law,” Wilcox said. “This government cannot continue to act behind closed doors. The people of our county deserve better. They deserve to be involved and informed about this important process.”