[Adopted 8-15-2005 by L.L. No. 3-2005]
Editor's Note: This local law also stated that it repealed any previously adopted local law, ordinance or resolution establishing a City of Albany Commission on Human Rights.
The City of Albany is a community rich in ethnic, racial, cultural and religious diversity. Such diversity contributes to the social fabric of our City and should be celebrated and respected. The Common Council finds that an independent Commission on Human Rights, firmly grounded in local law, can help foster an atmosphere of respect and celebration of our diversity. In adopting this local law the Common Council also reaffirms the goals and objectives of the Omnibus Human Rights Law, as set forth in Article III of Chapter 48 of this Code, which seeks to assure that the residents of our City are safeguarded against all forms of discrimination in violation of state and local law. It is the intent of the Common Council that the Commission on Human Rights herein established shall actively work to advance the goals and objectives of this part and Article III of Chapter 48 of this Code.
There is hereby established a Commission on Human Rights comprised of nine members, five of whom shall be appointed by the Mayor and four of whom shall be appointed by the Common Council.
Members shall be appointed for three-year terms; provided, however, that:
Of members initially appointed by the Mayor, one shall be for a term of one year, two shall be for a term of two years, and two shall be for a term of three years.
Of members initially appointed by the Common Council, one shall be for a term of one year, one shall be for a term of two years, and two shall be for a term of three years.
No member of the Commission shall serve for a period which exceeds two consecutive three-year terms; provided, however, that a member may be considered for reappointment to the Commission after one year of nonmembership; and provided, further, that appointment to fill a vacancy in an unexpired term shall not apply to the limitations in terms of service otherwise applicable under this subsection.
[Amended 9-6-2018 by L.L. No. 6-2018]
Members shall continue to serve on the Commission until their successors have been appointed.
Annually, from among its membership, the Commission shall elect a Chair and such other officers as determined.
Five members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum. Five votes shall be required for any action.
The Commission shall develop such rules and bylaws as necessary for the transaction of business and the conduct of meetings.
Any vacancy occasioned by resignation, death or removal of a member shall be filled promptly in the same manner as the predecessor to fill the unexpired term.
Members of the Commission shall reside in the City of Albany and possess a reputation for fairness, integrity and responsibility and have demonstrated an active interest in public affairs and service. The Mayor and the Common Council shall reflect community diversity in their appointments, including, but not limited to, income level, race, religion, ethnicity, age, gender and sexual orientation. Officers and employees of the City of Albany shall not be eligible for appointment.
The Commission shall meet no less than six times per year and shall establish a regular meeting calendar which is readily accessible to the public. Meetings of the Commission shall be public and comply with provisions of the Open Meetings Law. The Commissioner of the Department of Administrative Services, or his or her designee, shall serve as staff to the Commission.
The Commission, by its members or their duly authorized officers or employees, shall have the following functions, powers and duties:
To foster mutual respect and understanding among all persons and racial, religious and nationality groups in the community;
To make such studies in any field of human relationship in the community as in the judgment of the Commission will aid in effectuating its general purposes;
To inquire into incidents of tension and conflict among or between various racial, religious and nationality groups, and to take such action as may be designed to alleviate such tensions and conflict;
To conduct and recommend such educational programs as, in the judgment of the Commission, will increase goodwill among inhabitants of the community and open new opportunities into all phases of community life for all inhabitants;
To report complaints to the New York State Division of Human Rights alleging unlawful discriminatory practices under Article 15 of the Executive Law;
To receive, accept and expend public grants for the purposes of effectuating the provisions of this part.
To make recommendations as necessary and appropriate to the Mayor and the Common Council to effectuate the goals and purposes of this part.
The Commission, by its members or their duly authorized officers or employees, shall have the following general obligations:
To receive and resolve complaints of alleged discrimination filed in accordance with Article III of Chapter 48 (Omnibus Human Rights Law) of this Code. The Commission may seek the active assistance of the State Division of Human Rights in the resolution of such complaints but shall not abdicate its responsibility for resolution of complaints filed with the Commission;
To hold conferences and other public meetings in the interest of the constructive resolution of racial, religious and nationality group tensions and the prejudice and discrimination occasioned thereby;
To issue such publications and reports of investigations as in its judgment will tend to effectuate the purposes of this part;
To enlist the cooperation and participation of the various racial, religious and nationality groups, community organizations, industry and labor organizations, media or mass communication, fraternal and benevolent associations and other groups in an educational campaign devoted to fostering among the diverse groups of the community mutual esteem, justice and equity and opening new opportunities into all phases of community life for all individuals; and
To encourage and stimulate City of Albany agencies and departments to take such action as will fulfill the purposes of this part.
The Commission shall file biannual reports with the Common Council and the Mayor summarizing complaints filed in accordance with Article III of Chapter 48 of this Code and the status thereof. The Commission shall additionally file an annual report with the Common Council and the Mayor on or about January 31 summarizing its activities for the preceding year.