Albany County, NY
 
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[Amended 8-8-2016 by L.L. No. 7-2016, approved 11-8-2016, effective 1-1-2017]
The legislative branch of the government of the County shall consist of an elective governing body which shall be known as the "Albany County Legislature." Its members shall be known as "County Legislators." One person shall be elected from each of the districts into which the County shall be divided as provided in this Charter. The County Legislature shall constitute the legislative, appropriating and policy determining body of the County.
It is not the intention of this Charter to abolish, supersede, curtail or in any way affect any powers or rights heretofore conferred upon or delegated to the prior County Legislature, nor shall the provisions of this Charter be construed as superseding any provisions of any law, resolution, or enactment having the effect of law, relating to the functions, powers, duties, rights, methods or procedures of the prior County Legislature, unless a contrary intention is clearly manifested from the express provisions of this Charter.
All County Legislators shall be electors of the County and have been residents continuously in the County and the district represented for at least one (1) year prior to taking office. Each County Legislator shall reside in the district from which that County Legislator seeks election at the time of nomination for office, and continue to be a resident of the County and of the district within the County which she represents for the entire term of her office, subject, however, to the following exception: in the case of an election immediately following the reapportionment of County Legislative Districts, the incumbent County Legislator representing a district redrawn in such reapportionment shall be eligible for nomination for election in either the district of residence, or any newly drawn district which is contiguous to the district of residence, provided that the County Legislator shall become a resident of the district represented prior to taking office. Members of the County Legislature shall be nominated at the primary election in the same manner other County officers are nominated pursuant to the provisions of the Election Law.
Except as provided in this Section 202, or as otherwise provided by law, the term of office for each member of the County Legislature shall begin on January 1 following the member's election. The elections for County Legislators shall be conducted at the general election of 1995 and at general elections every fourth year thereafter.
[Amended 8-8-2016 by L.L. No. 7-2016, approved 11-8-2016, effective 1-1-2017]
(a) 
The County Legislature shall meet on or before January 8th following its election, and in each even-numbered year thereafter, for the purpose of organization and for the transaction of such other business as may come before it. Written notice shall be given to each Legislator by the Clerk of the County Legislature not later than five (5) days prior to such meeting. In the event of a vacancy in the office of the Clerk of the County Legislature, or his or her inability or failure to act in accordance with the provisions of this section, notice shall be given by the County Clerk. After such organizational meeting, the County Legislature shall hold monthly meetings on the days designated in the rules of the County Legislature, and at such other times as it may fix by resolution, duly adopted by a vote of a majority of the whole number of the County Legislature, or as authorized by its rules.
(b) 
At the organizational meeting of the County Legislature a permanent Chairperson shall be elected. The Chairperson shall serve until the next organizational meeting of that County Legislature. In case of her death, removal, resignation or retirement from the County Legislature, a successor Chairperson shall be elected for the unexpired term. In the event of a failure to elect a permanent chairperson on any day provided in this Charter, the County Legislature shall adjourn from day to day, Sundays and holidays excepted, until a Chairperson is elected. The Clerk shall preside until such time as a Chairperson has been elected.
(c) 
The Chairperson shall have and may cast the vote to which she is entitled as a member of the County Legislature.
(d) 
At the organizational meeting of the County Legislature in January, and at each organizational meeting thereafter, the County Legislature shall appoint a Clerk, a Deputy Clerk, and such Majority and Minority Counsels as it may deem appropriate, together with such other employees as it may deem necessary. Such officers and employees of the County Legislature shall serve until the next organizational meeting of the County Legislature. Any Majority and Minority Counsels which may be appointed shall be appointed in the manner provided for in the rules of the County Legislature. The Deputy Clerk shall perform the duties of the Clerk in the Clerk's absence and such other duties in connection with that office as directed by the County Legislature or Clerk. The Clerk and Deputy Clerk shall each give a bond in amount, and with such sureties as the County Legislature shall require. The Counsel to the Majority and Counsel to the Minority shall be appointed in accordance with the rules of the County Legislature, and their compensation shall be within the limits of appropriations approved by the County Executive. At the time of their appointments, and throughout their time in office, the Majority Counsel and Minority Counsel shall be duly admitted to practice law in the State of New York. The rules of the County Legislature shall provide for the method and procedure of the appointment and retention of staff and employees of the County Legislature within the limits of appropriation approved by the County Executive. The Majority Counsel and staff shall serve at the pleasure of the Majority Leader, and the Minority Counsel and staff shall serve at the pleasure of the Minority Leader. Majority Counsel and Minority Counsel shall prepare resolutions, legislation, legalizing acts, local laws and ordinances to be presented for action by the County Legislature, together with notices and other items in connection herewith.
(e) 
The County Legislature shall have power to enact local laws, resolutions or rules fixing the dates and time of its sessions, which shall govern the conduct of the members at such sessions and the manner of transacting business, prescribe penalties for the failure of members to attend stated or adjourned meetings and the manner of enforcing or collecting such penalties, and fix the time when and the form in which reports shall be made to the County Legislature by any officer of the County.
(f) 
The standing committees prescribed by the rules of the County Legislature, or by any local law adopted by the County Legislature, or which may hereafter be adopted by the County Legislature, shall be appointed by the Chairperson within twenty (20) days of the Chairperson's election. Such appointments shall be in writing and filed with the Clerk of the County Legislature, who shall give notice of such appointments to the members of the County Legislature. The committee members shall continue in office until successors have been appointed, but no member of the County Legislature whose term shall have expired, or who shall have resigned or been removed from office, shall continue to serve on any committee after she has ceased being a member of the County Legislature.
(g) 
The rules of the County Legislature shall indicate the proportionate make-up of majority and minority members of committees.
[Amended 8-8-2016 by L.L. No. 7-2016, approved 11-8-2016, effective 1-1-2017]
The County Legislature shall have the power to fix the compensation of its members and the Chairperson, which compensation shall be a stated annual salary to be paid in equal monthly installments by the Commissioner of Management and Budget. The County Legislature may, however, fix the initial compensation of the County Legislature prior to the next election of such County Legislature. The compensation of the members and the Chairperson shall not be increased nor decreased during the term of office.
Expenses actually incurred by any County Legislator under the authority or direction of the County Legislature, outside the limits of the County, may be paid in the manner as other County charges, but no claims for expenses shall be audited or allowed which are not fully itemized and verified by affidavit of the claimant in the manner prescribed by law.
The Clerk, Deputy Clerk, and any majority and minority counsels and other employees of the County Legislature shall each receive a stated annual salary which shall be fixed by the County Legislature and paid in the same manner as other County salaries are paid.
The County Legislature shall have sole responsibility for the organization, appointment and removal of its staff. The County Legislature shall also have responsibility for the compensation to be paid for such legislative staff positions within the appropriations approved by the County Executive for such staff.
A vacancy in the County Legislature shall be filled by appointment by a majority of the remaining members of the County Legislature within forty (40) days of the vacancy. The appointee shall serve until the January 1 following the next general election, at which election such vacancy shall be filled for the unexpired term. Any successor so appointed or elected shall possess all the qualifications required of members of the County Legislature as set forth in this Charter.
Any vacancy in any committee of the County Legislature shall be filled by appointment by the Chairperson.
[Amended 12-2-2002 by L.L. No. 7-2002, approved 12-20-2002; 8-28-2003 by L.L. No. 4-2003, approved 9-5-2003; 10-12-2004 by L.L. No. 2-2004, approved 10-28-2004; 5-23-2011 by L.L. No. 1-2011, approved 6-6-2011; 6-8-2015 by L.L. No. 5-2015, approved 7-8-2015]
For the purpose of electing County Legislators, the County shall be divided into thirty-nine (39) districts. One County Legislator shall be elected to the County Legislature of Albany County from each of said districts. The thirty-nine (39) districts within the County of Albany are as follows.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The current list and descriptions of legislative districts are included as an attachment to the Charter.
The County Legislature shall appoint a Reapportionment Commission of seven (7) persons evaluate the existing County Legislative districts for equity and representation in relation to population: (a) within six (6) months after the publication of census tracts and block statistics based upon each federal census taken in the County; or (b) within six (6) months after the publication of census tracts and block statistics based upon any federal or special population census, taken pursuant to Section 20 of the General Municipal Law, and held not more than once every five (5) years; or (c) after any annexation which has the effect of increasing or decreasing the population of any County Legislative district by more than ten percent (10%). The Reapportionment Commission shall include representation of the two (2) principal political parties, and residents of the County in such proportion so as to reasonably reflect the demographic composition of the County.
The Reapportionment Commission shall review the population data and within three (3) months after appointment shall make recommendations, if necessary, in the form of a proposed local law as to changes in the boundaries of County Legislative Districts. In its deliberations to redesign County Legislative Districts, the Reapportionment Commission shall consider the application of the "one person, one vote" concept and the Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I, §§ 1 and 2, of the New York State Constitution.
The County Legislature shall have and exercise all of the powers and duties conferred upon the County Legislature as set forth in this Charter and now or hereafter generally conferred by applicable law, as well as all powers necessarily incidental thereto, and shall, for the purposes of general laws conferring powers upon boards of supervisors, be deemed a board of supervisors, and be the policy-making body of the County.
The County Legislature shall also have, but not by way of limitation, the following powers and duties:
(a) 
Determining policy for the County and to adopt all necessary rules and regulations for its conduct and procedure;
(b) 
Making appropriations, levy taxes, and incur indebtedness;
(c) 
Equalizing real property taxes consistent with standards prescribed by state law and on the basis of information supplied by the New York State Board of Equalization and Assessment and the County Real Property Tax Service Agency;
(d) 
Exercising all powers of local legislation in relation to enacting, amending or rescinding local laws, legalizing acts, ordinances or resolutions, subject to the veto of the County Executive as set forth in Section 309 of this Charter;
(e) 
Adopting, amending or repealing by local law an Administrative Code, subject to the veto of the County Executive as set forth in Section 309 of this Charter, which shall set forth the details of administration of the County government, consistent with the provisions of this Charter. The Administrative Code may contain revisions and restatements of special laws, local laws, resolutions, rules and regulations as are consistent with this Charter;
(f) 
Establishing a schedule of compensation for officers and employees paid from County funds. This schedule of compensation may establish a minimum and maximum for any class of employees, and an increase in compensation, within the limits provided for by any class of employees, as may be granted at any time by the County Executive or other appointing authority;
(g) 
Fixing the amount of bonds of officers and employees paid from County funds;
(h) 
Legalizing and validating any act had and taken in connection with a lawful municipal purpose by the governing board or other local body, officer or agency of a municipality wholly within the County, in the manner provided by Section 227 of the County Law;
(i) 
Exercising legislative oversight of County programs and administrative units;
(j) 
Adopting a budget in the manner set forth in the Charter;
(k) 
[1]Creating, altering, combining or abolishing administrative units within County government, provided that such administrative units are not headed by elected officials;
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection (k), regarding the Legislature's authority to confirm administrative unit heads appointed by the County Executive, was repealed 8-8-2016 by L.L. No. 7-2016, approved 11-8-2016, effective 1-1-2017. This local law also redesignated the remaining subsections as Subsections (k) through (o).
(l) 
Approving contracts for the purchase and sale of real property, contracts for intergovernmental services and collective bargaining agreements, and those contracts subject to and in accordance with Article 13 of this Charter;
(m) 
Determining and making provision for any matter of County government not otherwise provided for;
(n) 
Preparing a legislative operational budget; and
(o) 
Designating, on an annual basis, official newspapers for the publication of all enactments, notices and other matters required by law to be published.
[Added 8-8-2016 by L.L. No. 7-2016, approved 11-8-2016, effective 1-1-2017]
A proposed appointment to County office by the County Executive that requires confirmation by the County Legislature under provisions of this Charter shall be presented by the County Executive to the Clerk of the County Legislature in writing in sufficient time to allow the Clerk to inform the full County Legislature of the proposed appointment at least two (2) weeks prior to the County Legislature's next scheduled meeting. If the County Legislature fails to confirm such proposed appointment within sixty (60) days after filing with the Clerk, the appointment shall be deemed confirmed. When an appointment is rejected by the County Legislature, the appointment of the same individual for the same position may not be resubmitted by the County Executive without the approval of the County legislature.
[Added 8-8-2016 by L.L. No. 7-2016, approved 11-8-2016, effective 1-1-2017]
(a) 
Except as otherwise provided in this Charter, the County Executive shall have power, within ten (10) days, or in the case of a local law thirty (30) days, after its presentation to him or her by the Clerk, to veto any legislation passed by the County Legislature, except local laws and any such legislation which relates to the internal organization and operation of the County Legislature, and appointments made by the Legislature, including, but not limited to:
(i) 
The creation, operation, funding and abolition of standing and special committees of the County Legislature, standing boards and commissions created pursuant to this Charter and temporary studies, commissions, committees, task forces or other such groups created by the County Legislature;
(ii) 
The appointments to boards, commissions or other such bodies by the Chairperson or the County Legislature, where the legislation creating such bodies authorizes the appointment of members to such bodies by the Chairperson or the County Legislature;
(iii) 
The day-to day operations of the County Legislature;
(iv) 
The organization of the County Legislative staff, including the creation and abolition of positions for such staff and the compensation to be paid for such positions; and the appointment and removal of such County Legislative staff; and
(v) 
The adoption, amendment or repeal of rules of the County Legislature.
A copy of such legislation shall immediately after its passage be separately certified by the Clerk and filed by the Clerk with the County Executive within five (5) days after its passage.
(b) 
If the County Executive approves it, he or she shall sign it and return it to the Clerk, and the legislation shall thereupon take effect. If the County Executive vetoes it, he or she shall return it to the Clerk with his or her objections stated, in writing, and the Clerk shall present the same with such objections to the County Legislature at its next regular or special meeting called for that purpose, and such objections shall be entered upon its record, journal or minutes of the proceeding.
(c) 
Except as otherwise provided in this Charter, the County Legislature, within forty- five (45) days after its return to the Clerk, may, by a three-fifths (3/5) vote of the whole number of its members, override such veto. Only one (1) vote shall be had to override such veto, which shall be taken by roll call and entered upon its record, journal or minutes of the proceeding. Wherever, as provided for in this Charter, a three-fifths (3/5) vote of the whole number of the County Legislature's members is required to override a certain action taken by the County Executive, if a fraction exists in the computation of such three-fifths (3/5), then it will be required to round up to the next whole number for determination of such three-fifths (3/5) vote.
(d) 
If any of such legislation shall not be returned by the County Executive within ten (10) days after it shall have been presented to him or her, or if it shall be returned within such period without the County Executive's approval or veto, it shall be deemed to be adopted with like effect as if he or she had approved and signed it.
(e) 
The procedures to be followed and the powers of the County Executive and County Legislature relative to the passage and veto of local laws shall be governed by and in accordance with Article 3 of the Municipal Home Rule Law of the State of New York.
[Added 8-8-2016 by L.L. No. 7-2016, approved 11-8-2016, effective 1-1-2017]
The County Legislature shall enact and amend an Administrative Code organizing the administration of County government, and setting forth the details thereof, consistent with the provisions of this Charter. The Administrative Code may contain revisions, simplifications, consolidations, modifications and restatements of special laws, local laws, ordinances, resolutions, rules and regulations consistent with this Charter or amendments thereto. All local laws and ordinances shall be included in the Administrative Code, together with any resolutions designated for that purpose by either the County Legislature or the County Executive. It shall be the responsibility of the County Clerk to compile, publish, and disseminate the Administrative Code, and recommend revisions thereto, in a continuing program to provide greater efficiency and economy in the operation of government.
[Added 8-8-2016 by L.L. No. 7-2016, approved 11-8-2016, effective 1-1-2017]
(a) 
A local law is a law adopted pursuant to this Charter within the power granted by the New York State Constitution, act of the Legislature or provision of this Charter and shall not include a resolution, ordinance or legalizing act.
(b) 
The County Legislature may adopt, amend or repeal local laws by a majority vote of the whole number of its members. Each local law shall embrace only one (1) subject and may relate to property, affairs or government of the County, or any other subject of County concern. In the exercise of such power, and within the limitations provided by Article 4 of the Municipal Home Rule Law of the State of New York, the County may change, supersede or amend any act of the State Legislature.
(c) 
Except as may otherwise be provided in this Charter, all procedural details relating to the adoption, amendment and repeal of local laws, including the conduct of mandatory and permissive referenda in connection therewith, shall be as provided in the Administrative Code or other applicable law.
(d) 
Every local law shall become effective when filed in the office of the Secretary of State of the State of New York, or on such later date as may be provided in the local law.
[Added 8-8-2016 by L.L. No. 7-2016, approved 11-8-2016, effective 1-1-2017]
The filing and publication of local laws shall be as provided by Section 27 of the Municipal Home Rule Law of the State of New York, and the court shall take judicial notice of all local laws and of rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto. Within five (5) days after the taking of effect of a local law, the Clerk shall file a certified copy thereof in the office of the County Clerk, and three (3) copies in the office of the Secretary of State. Such certified copy shall contain the text only of the local law without the brackets and the matter within the brackets, or the italicizing or underscoring, if any, to indicate the changes made by it. At the same time the Clerk shall cause to be published at least once as a County charge in the designated official newspaper a notice that such local law was adopted, a brief description of such local law and that the full text of such local law may be examined during regular business hours in the office of the Clerk of the County Legislature, provided that failure to do so shall not affect the validity of such local law.
[Added 8-8-2016 by L.L. No. 7-2016, approved 11-8-2016, effective 1-1-2017]
(a) 
The County Legislature may adopt, amend and repeal resolutions by a majority vote of the whole number of its members. Each resolution shall embrace only one (1) subject and may relate to property or any other subject of County concern not required by this Charter or applicable law to be provided by local law. Resolutions shall not be subject to referenda.
(b) 
Except as otherwise provided in the Charter, all procedural details relating to the adoption, amendment and repeal of resolutions shall be as provided in the Administrative Code or applicable law.
[Added 8-8-2016 by L.L. No. 7-2016, approved 11-8-2016, effective 1-1-2017]
Ordinances may be adopted by the County Legislature, and the procedure shall be the same as herein provided for the adoption of local laws, except that an ordinance shall not be subject to referendum, mandatory or permissive, except also for any filing requirements. An ordinance may provide for any subject matter of County concern not required to be provided by local law, legalizing act or resolution of the County Legislature. Such ordinance may provide for its enforcement by legal or equitable proceedings in a court of competent jurisdiction, may prescribe that violations thereof shall constitute offenses or misdemeanors and may provide for punishment of violations by civil penalty or by fine or imprisonment or by two (2) or more such penalties or punishments. Ordinances and their application, including particular subjects and form, may be further provided in the Administrative Code.