Updated: November 13, 2019 05:22 PM
Created: November 13, 2019 11:36 AM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The Republican-controlled Monroe County Legislature is trying to limit the power of incoming County Executive Adam Bello. Bello is the first Democrat elected to the position since 1991.
On Tuesday night, Republican legislators introduced an amendment to the Monroe County Charter. It would give the legislature authority to approve more of Bello's appointments, including deputy county executive and county attorney, all department heads and most managers in those departments.
Under the proposed changes, Bello would also lose his authority to create new positions and adjust salaries, and his budget would be due a month earlier. He would also only be able to approve contracts less than $5,000, currently, the cut-off is $20,000.
The proposal came just a week after Bello won the election over incumbent Republican Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo.
On Wednesday, Bello said that he was disappointed in the introduction of the CABLE Act. He said that he feels the Republican majority is trying to hinder the changes he's promised before he even takes office,
“The voters asked for us to start to roll up our sleeves, put politics aside and start to impact the challenges in this community and what the legislature is attempting to do by changing the charter is take away my ability to build a team to implement what the voters wanted and I think that's offensive,” Bello told News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke.
“I’ve heard from people who I don’t think even supported me in the election, but they look at this and say what is going on here, this is not the way government is supposed to work,” Bello said. “I said this throughout the campaign, I think people are starting to say enough, the county government matters. Our community faces far too many challenges to be bogged down in politics as usual, and I think this is just another example of how this government has been constantly focused on politics and how we’re helping people who work in this government and friends of this government, instead of what are we doing to help people in the community. I think that’s a shame.”
Every Republican in the Monroe County Legislature signed a letter supporting the measure.
News10NBC reached out to all of them on Wednesday. Only majority leader Brian Marianetti responded with a statement that reads:
“The CABLE Act is an important step to ensure the Legislature will provide checks and balances to County government. This Legislation will allow important decisions to be fully vetted through the Legislative process and open to public input. This Legislation also ensures a smooth transition that allows all 29 Legislators to share their experience and knowledge with the new Administration. In fact, many of the pieces within this Legislation come from past proposals from the Minority. The Republican Majority looks forward to working with both the Minority and the incoming County Executive in 2020.”
Democratic members of the Legislature expressed their displeasure with the measure, “I think it's very petty, I think it's vindictive and I'm disappointed in my colleagues that they would even propose something like this…They [Republicans] believe that Monroe County belongs to them, not to the taxpayers, not to the voters but to them,” legislator Vincent Felder told News10NBC.
Felder also believes the majority is inappropriately using a “message of urgency” to rush the measure through. The message allows the legislature to bypass the normal committee review of the legislation and vote on it next month.
“There is no emergency here, this is just being pushed through to bypass the ordinary legislative process so that Cheryl [Dinolfo] can sign this before she leaves,” Felder said.
Current County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo indicated on Wednesday, she’s prepared to do just that, her spokesman said, "The CABLE Act of 2019 ensures a co-equal branch of government providing residents across Monroe County greater transparency and oversight on how their tax dollars are spent. The County Executive respects and supports this legislation."
There will be a public hearing on the measure before the vote on Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. at the Monroe County Office Building.
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