Tools

Cutting Seats in the Oneida County Legislature

By CAROLINE GABLE

ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. (WKTV) - Government agencies across the state are tightening their belts by cutting costs and cutting employees. Wednesday night, the hot topic of conversation at the Oneida County Legislature is reducing its own size.

What reducing the size of the legislature really means in this case, is representatives voting on their own jobs.

Currently there are 29 seats in the Oneida County Legislature, and proposed amendments on just how many seats to cut have ranged from anywhere 4 to 15.

Oneida County Legislator Michael Hennessy says bigger counties like Onondaga County have fewer legislators, and now is the time to cut costs. Hennessy would like to see a reduction of 15 of those seats.

"We can do it," Hennessy said. "It is a question of having the will to do it, and I think we are more apt to continue the status quo and protect our selfish interests, rather than looking out for the tax payers."

However, Legislator David Wood says cutting 15 seats is going too far. He supports a smaller reduction, of four or six seats, adding that increasing the size of the districts needs to be reasonable for both representatives and the good of the county.

"Over 10,000 a district...it becomes almost a full time job and you cut out the person say, who works for a large employer from holding office," Wood said. "You get all the same representatives, small business owners and people who are retired. "

On Wednesday night, legislators will discuss different proposals that will sit for two weeks. June 15 is the deadline for legislators to take a final vote, but ultimately the choice will be up to residents who go to the polls in November.

However, even if change does happen, it won't happen anytime soon. The soonest these cuts would take effect is 2014.

What's On