Oneonta charter review chair talks of plans

·2 min read

Sep. 23—Oneonta City Councilman Scott Harrington, head of the committee appointed to review the city's charter talked on Thursday about the upcoming work.

During the Oneonta Common Council meeting on Tuesday Sept. 20, Mayor Mark Drnek announced the appointment of the committee and stated his goal to revise the charter.

Harrington is joined on the committee by council members Kaytee Lipari Shue, Len Carson and John Rafter.

"Our goal is be the most transparent we can be to the public and provide a document to the residents of Oneonta that is understandable and clear," Harrington said.

With advice from the city attorney, the revision committee will meet and look for ambiguous areas within the document that raise concern before going through the entire charter item by item.

"The first step is to get everybody together and express our thoughts and feelings. We want this to be a transparent process," Harrington said. "Then we will get help from the city attorney and ask for specific grey areas in the document."

Specifically, the committee will first tackle ad hoc committees in the charter as there were contradictions that were pointed out during Tuesday night's Common Council meeting.

During the meeting, transparency issues with the state of the ad hoc and standing committees were discussed.

Council Member Mark Davies said a problem with the committees is, "We don't know what's going on, the appropriate thing is to bring up this information during Common Council as well as providing clear documentation of what's happening."

Davies also said that posting the information publicly will help increase transparency between the council and the public.

Other revisions being made due to confusing language and transparency issues involve the city code in regards to fraternity and sorority off-campus housing.

"I want to make it very known that this isn't going to be a quick process. We are working with a living document and there are going to be changes that are going to take time," Harrington said.

Harrington said the committee will look through the charter carefully to make sure the document can be as clear as possible to Oneonta residents.

"The document has a lot of confusing language and I believe heavily in transparency. Anything we do on the benefit of the city should be well known and told to the public," Harrington said. "The city residents deserve careful attention and due diligence in the revision of this charter."

Alexis Ochi, staff writer, can be reached at aochi@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7213.