Writer misunderstood Spa charter contents – New York News


I’m honored to serve on the Charter Review Commission for Saratoga Springs and I write to correct some misimpressions in Joe Dalton’s July 23 letter.

First, the name of the committee is instructive: it’s not the Charter Change Committee, but the Charter Review Commission, a subtle, yet crucial, difference.

After seven months of deliberation, the Review Commission chose to reject the current form of government and adopt a city manager/council format.

The most compelling argument against the present form of government, for me, came in interviews with City Hall employees who complained that the city functioned, not because of the current charter, but despite it.

They reported that their inability to work across departments made it harder to accomplish even necessary tasks.

It struck me then that if city employees found it difficult to navigate the five separate political departments, most city residents must find it impossible.

For those who have worked in this system for years, including Mr. Dalton, the former DBA president, the commission government presents no mysteries.

The old-fashioned system operates in their favor, allowing those with influence to gain the ear of the council, while keeping those without the same connections from gaining attention and support for new or competing ideas.

This is the conclusion that the diverse members of the Charter Review Commission reached: The proposed City Charter does not have an “unelected bureaucratic czar” run the city.

On the contrary, the proposed City Charter ensures that Saratoga Springs is run by — and for — the people of the city,…

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