[HISTORY: Adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature 6-7-2005 by Res. No. 636-2005; amended in its entirety 11-20-2007 by Res. No. 1097-2007 (Ch. 716 of the 1985 Code). Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Consistent with General Municipal Law § 239-h, as amended, the Nassau-Suffolk Regional Planning Board shall hereinafter be known as the "Long Island Regional Planning Council" (the "Council").
The Suffolk County Executive is hereby empowered and authorized to enter into an intermunicipal agreement with Nassau County, which agreement sets forth the terms and conditions under which the Council will operate, such agreement to be consistent with the terms of this chapter.
The Council shall consist of 12 voting members, six members to be appointed from Nassau County, and six members to be appointed from Suffolk County, as set forth below. A quorum of the Council shall consist of no fewer than eight voting members, four such members from Nassau County and four such members from Suffolk County; any subcommittee of the Council shall contain representation from each county.
The Suffolk County Executive shall, subject to the approval of the Suffolk County Legislature, appoint six members who shall reside in Suffolk County. One member shall be a Supervisor of a town within Suffolk County and one member shall be a Mayor of a village within Suffolk County, with both nominations to be made to the Suffolk County Executive and approved by the Suffolk County Legislature to serve for a term which is the shorter of his or her term of office or three years. The remaining members shall serve for terms of three years. No more than two members so appointed shall reside in the same town or village within Suffolk County. All members appointed pursuant to this section should have a background in engineering, real estate development, construction, economic development, energy planning and analysis, law, local government, environmental protection, health care planning, transportation planning or regional planning; however, the Council shall include members from a broad cross-section of interests within Suffolk County. Not more than two members shall be from the same type of professional background. Such members shall continue to hold office until their successors are appointed and qualified, provided that the appointment of a successor to a person who has continued to hold office after the expiration of his or her original term shall be for the unexpired portion of the new term; and provided, further, that the vacancies in the Council occurring as a result of something other than the expiration of the term shall be filled by appointment of the County Executive, subject to the approval of the Legislature, for the unexpired term.
The Suffolk County Executive, the Suffolk County Comptroller, the Presiding Officer of the Suffolk County Legislature, the Commissioner of the Suffolk Department of Public Works, the Commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, the Director of the Suffolk County Department of Planning and the Commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Workforce Housing, or their designees, shall serve as ex-officio members of the Council, but shall not be entitled to vote.
The members of the Council shall receive no salary or compensation for their services but may be reimbursed for authorized, actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.
Any Council member may be removed for cause, including a member's failure to attend at least half of all regularly scheduled meetings during the calendar year.
The Council is hereby authorized and directed to establish a business plan within four months of the effective date of this chapter. Said business plan shall set forth operating expenses and the size and nature of staff, including anticipated rates of compensation for that staff. Said business plan shall also lay out goals for the Council in the first year and for the ensuing three-year period, as well as a detailed plan including a timetable for achieving those goals. Until a business plan is submitted and accepted by the Suffolk County Executive and the Legislature, the Council shall be limited to funding of no more than $100,000 per annum from Suffolk County.
The Council shall annually elect a Chair and a Vice Chair, shall keep a record of its resolutions, transactions, findings and determinations, which shall be public record, and shall adopt and file with the Clerks of the Nassau County and Suffolk County Legislatures bylaws governing its operations, including bylaws governing procurement that comply with all state requirements and, to the extent possible and reasonable, provide for competitive solicitation of goods and services.
The Council shall meet bimonthly, or more often as agreed to by the Council. Notice of such meetings shall be provided, and such meeting shall be open to the public in compliance with the provisions of the New York State Open Meetings Law, Public Officers Law § 100 et seq. Minutes of the meetings shall be kept, and meeting agendas and minutes shall be provided to all Council members and ex-officio members.
The Council is hereby authorized and empowered to receive and expend public and private funds for its approved purposes, including grants from nonpublic foundations, agencies, corporations and private entities, and may apply for and accept grants from the federal and state governments and enter into contracts for and agree to accept such grants, donations or subsidies in accordance with its approved purposes.
The Council is empowered and authorized to set qualifications, hire and set compensation for, within the appropriations therefor, an Executive Director and a Deputy Executive Director, who shall perform only those services approved by the Council and who, in addition, shall coordinate activities and projects with the Directors of the Nassau County Department of Planning and the Suffolk County Department of Planning. The minimum qualifications for the position of Executive Director shall be a graduate degree from an accredited college or university in regional planning or a related field and a minimum of five years' professional experience in regional planning or a related field. The minimum qualifications for the Deputy Executive Director shall be a graduate degree from an accredited college or university in regional planning or a related field and a minimum of three years' professional experience in regional planning or a related field.
The Director of the Suffolk County Planning Department may, in his or her discretion, assign staff to provide services to the Council. To the extent that necessary work cannot be performed by Nassau and Suffolk County Planning Department staff, the Council shall have the power and authority to employ other staff, who shall perform only those services approved by the Council; to enter into agreements with consultants and experts and to pay for their services; and to provide for such other expenses as may be necessary and proper within the appropriations therefor.
The Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director and all staff employed by the Council shall be subject to the Codes of Ethics contained in Article XXX of the Suffolk County Administrative Code and Chapter 77, Article I, of the Suffolk County Code and Section 2218 of the Nassau County Charter and Sections 22-4.2 and 22-4.3 of the Nassau County Administrative Code.
All persons employed by the Council shall be prohibited from providing planning services, including consultative services, to private entities, municipalities or public benefit corporations in Nassau County or Suffolk County unless otherwise approved by resolution of the Council.
The Council shall submit an annual report, the first such report to be submitted no later than the first day of January of the year following the date on which this chapter shall take effect, to the Suffolk County Executive, the Suffolk County Comptroller and the Suffolk County Legislature. Such report shall summarize the Council's activities, in detail, including an Executive Director's summary, which details initiatives, studies, grants and meetings held, as well as the financial status of the Council, and itemizes the annual budget as well as any federal, state, and local funding and private-sector financial assistance, the Council's planned future activities and an update of the business plan.
The Council shall conduct a public hearing for the purpose of soliciting information about planning issues of regional concern from members of the public and organizations involved in planning and environmental work in the region. Thereafter, such hearings shall be held annually at a time to be determined by the Council. In addition to such annual hearings, the Council shall provide public notice whenever a draft comprehensive regional plan has been prepared pursuant to § 1083-22 and shall conduct a public hearing on any such draft prior to the issuance of the final plan. The Council shall also hold hearings to solicit comment on any report proposed to be issued pursuant to its responsibilities under this chapter that it determines to be of major significance. Notice of all hearings conducted pursuant to this chapter shall comply with the requirements of the Public Officers Law and shall, in addition, be provided to appropriate organizations identified by the Council.
Pursuant to the requirements of General Municipal Law § 239-h, the Council shall engage a certified public accountant to complete an annual financial audit and audit of the internal control structure of the Council, a copy of which shall be included in the annual report.
Pursuant to General Municipal Law § 239-h, all voting members of the Council shall complete, at a minimum, four hours of training each year designed to enable such members to more effectively carry out their duties. Training received by a member in excess of four hours in any one year may be carried over by the member into succeeding years in order to meet the requirements of this section. Such training shall be approved by the Chair of the Council and may include, but shall not be limited to, training provided by a regional or County planning office or commission, County planning federation, County Attorney's office, state agency, statewide municipal association, college or other similar entity. Training may be provided in a variety of formats, including, but not limited to, electronic media, video, distance learning and traditional classroom training. Relevant continuing legal education (CLE) shall qualify for the training requirements. To be eligible for reappointment to the Council, a member shall have completed the training in accordance with the requirements of this section. The training required by this section may be waived or modified by resolution of the Council when, in the judgment of the Council, it is in the best interest to do so.
In addition to acting as a regional data and information center for census statistics, the Council shall focus its planning efforts primarily in the areas of:
Transportation (in coordination with any recommendations of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council);
Economic development and sustainability;
Health care planning;
Homeland security, including emergency preparedness;
Energy planning; and
Other areas and issues as requested by the Suffolk County Executive and/or the Suffolk County Legislature.
In addition to the areas set forth in § 1083-21, the Council may:
Conduct surveys, studies, and research programs that address regional needs, including general protection, enhancement, quality of life, sustainable growth and development of the region, and improve community services, and distribute information and recommendations resulting from such surveys, studies and research programs;
Prepare, in coordination with the Nassau County Planning Commission and the Suffolk County Planning Commission, a regional comprehensive plan and amendments thereto, as described in § 239-i of the New York State General Municipal Law;
Consult and cooperate with the state government, its political subdivisions and public and private agencies in matters related to regional planning issues; and
Establish relationships with local universities and colleges and promote a training/education center for future Long Island planners.
This chapter supersedes Resolution No. 36-1965 and any other ordinance or resolution relating to the Nassau-Suffolk Regional Planning Board that predates the effective date of this chapter; provided, however, that those members serving on the effective date of this chapter shall become members of the Council for the remainder of the unexpired terms for which they were appointed or until a successor has been appointed; and provided, further, that all contracts entered into by the Board in effect on the effective date of this chapter, including, but not limited to, the contract setting forth the terms and conditions of employment of the Executive Director, shall be deemed contracts of the Council.
This chapter shall become effective upon the approval and adoption of a substantially similar resolution or ordinance by Nassau County; provided, however, that such a resolution or ordinance shall not be construed as "substantially similar" if it affects the powers of Suffolk County or its members on the Council, including, but not limited to, representation, voting powers or Suffolk County's financial contribution to the Council.