Upon the adoption of this Charter, the elective legislative body of Ulster County shall be the County Legislature of the County of Ulster.
Effective at the general election of 2011, the County of Ulster shall be divided into 23 legislative districts, from each of which shall be elected one person to be a member of the County Legislature. Such persons while holding office shall be known as "Legislators."
The term of office of the members of the County Legislature shall be two years beginning on the first day of January next following their election at the general election held in every odd-numbered year.
No person shall serve as a County Legislator for more than six full terms, unless he or she has filled an unexpired term prior thereto. For the purpose of establishing the term limit, term of office shall be calculated beginning the first day of his or her first full term of office after the effective date hereof.
[Added 7-16-2019 by L.L. No. 4-2019]
Each member of the County Legislature shall, at the time of the Legislator's nomination and election and throughout the Legislator's term of office, be and remain a qualified elector and resident of the district from which the Legislator is elected, except that for 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 his or her district of residence or any newly drawn district which is contiguous to his or her district of residence, provided that the County Legislator shall become a resident of the district represented no later than one year after taking office.
No County Legislator shall hold at the same time any other elective public office.
[Amended 8-14-2012 by L.L. No. 9-2012; 11-6-2018]
A Commission on Reapportionment shall be established pursuant to this section. It shall meet as soon as practicable after the availability of data from each decennial census to evaluate existing legislative districts to the maximum extent practicable pursuant to the process established herein and reapportion them as necessary to meet established standards in state and federal law for equal and fair representation of all people in Ulster County, keeping districts compact and contiguous while taking also into account existing town, city, village and election district boundaries, defining geographic features, and equal population within applicable law, but giving no consideration to providing advantage to one or another political party. This Commission shall consist of seven members who are County residents, are registered to vote in Ulster County, represent the geographic and demographic diversity of Ulster County, and are not currently, nor have been for the three years preceding the formation of the Commission, elected officials, employees of New York State, Ulster County or any town, city or village in that County, or members or officers of any political committee.
To establish a pool from which Commission members will be appointed, the County Executive shall, no later than June 1 of each year ending in zero, commence the process for widely soliciting interest in serving on the Commission through such as direct mail and e-mail, contact with civic groups, public service announcements on radio and television and in daily and weekly newspapers, paid advertisement and announcement on the County website. A report of the process and a list containing the names of the people in the pool of candidates qualified to serve as members of the Commission shall be submitted to the Clerk of the County Legislature no later than September 1 of each year ending in zero.
Initial appointments to the Commission on Reapportionment from the pool of interested parties gathered in this manner shall represent the demographic and geographic diversity of the County and shall be made no later than January 1 of each year ending in "1" with two members appointed by the Legislature's majority leader and two members by the Legislature's minority leader.
The four appointed Commissioners shall select the additional three Commission members from the previously established pool no later than January 15 of each year ending in "1" and shall represent the geographic and demographic diversity of the County. In the event that all of the three additional Commission members are not appointed by the prescribed January 15 deadline, the appointment of the initial four members and additional members appointed by the four Commissioners will no longer have force and effect, and these members will no longer be eligible to serve on the Commission on Reapportionment.
The majority and minority leaders will then make new appointments, other than any previously selected who could not agree on the selection of the three additional members, in the manner prescribed in Subsection C above no later than February 1 of each year ending in "1." The four newly appointed members will appoint three additional members as set forth above by February 15 of each year ending in "1." In the event that all of the three additional Commission members are not appointed by the prescribed February 15 deadline, the appointment of the initial four members and additional members appointed by the four Commissioners will no longer have force and effect, and these members will no longer be eligible to serve on the Commission on Reapportionment.
The majority and minority leaders will then make new appointments, other than any previously selected who could not agree on the selection of the three additional members, in the manner prescribed in Subsection C above but no later than March 1 of each year ending in "1."
In the event that these four Commission members fail to select all of the three additional members by March 15 of each year ending in "1," then by April 1 of each year ending in "1," the three additional members of the Commission shall be selected by a drawing of names from a receptacle containing the names of the remaining members of the pool of interested parties that the four Commissioners have agreed by majority vote meet the criteria set forth in § C-10A of this Charter. The four newly appointed members shall verify that the receptacle contains the names of all remaining members of the pool of interested parties. The County Clerk shall draw three names from the receptacle containing the names of all of the remaining interested parties. If the four newly appointed members determine that any one of the three additional members together with the four appointed members thus selected do not represent the criteria set forth in § C-10A of this Charter, the process shall be repeated with respect to the number of additional members to be appointed. The rejected members shall not be placed back in the receptacle. This process shall be repeated until a majority of the four members determine that the three additional members together with the four appointed members represent the criteria set forth in § C-10A of this Charter. The three names thus selected shall constitute the three additional members of the Commission on Reapportionment.
A vacancy in any Reapportionment Commission shall be filled in the manner that the vacant position was originally filled. A vacancy shall be filled no later than 15 days from the date of the vacancy.
The first meeting of the Commission shall be convened by the County Executive no later than 15 days after it is fully appointed/or the purposes of receiving its charge and determining how a Chairperson will be selected. The Commission shall decide at its first meeting by majority vote of the entire membership of the Commission if it will have a Chairperson and Vice Chairperson by election or a Chairperson by rotation.
Chairperson and Vice Chairperson by election.
The Commission shall elect a Chairperson and Vice Chairperson at its first meeting by majority vote of the entire membership of the Commission. The Chairperson and/or the Vice Chairperson may be removed from his/her seat by a two-thirds vote of the entire membership of the Commission. A vote for removal of the Chairperson and/or Vice Chairperson may be called by any member of the Commission. A vote for removal from the seat of Chairperson or Vice Chairperson is not a vote for removal from the Commission.
In the event of a vacancy in the seat of Chairperson or Vice Chairperson the vacancy shall be filled by a majority vote of the entire Commission immediately thereafter, but in no event shall it be later than at its next scheduled meeting immediately following the vacancy.
Chairperson by rotation. The position of Chairperson shall rotate each meeting. The position shall rotate among the Commissioners in alphabetical order by surname commencing with the Commissioner whose surname begins with the letter appearing earliest in the alphabet. A Commissioner may elect to not sit as the Chairperson, in which event, the Chair shall move to the next Commissioner in the rotation. Should a Commissioner elect to not serve as Chairperson at any point during the rotation, this decision shall not result in the forfeiture of future turns to serve as Chairperson.
Powers and duties of the Commission; hearings; submissions and approval of the plan.
Following each decennial census, the Commission shall divide the County into 23 single member districts as set forth in § C-8 of this Charter for the election of County Legislators. The Commission shall be solely limited to creating district boundary lines delineating each of the 23 legislative districts. The Commission shall have no power or authority to increase or decrease the number of legislative districts as that power and authority shall vest solely with the Ulster County Legislature, Ulster County Executive and the electorate pursuant to the Ulster County Charter and § 23 of Municipal Home Rule Law. The Commission shall be guided by the criteria set forth in § C-10A of the County Charter.
To the maximum extent practicable, each of the 23 single member legislative districts shall be created, taking into consideration § C-10A of this Charter.
The Commission shall hold one or more public hearings on or prior to May 20 of each year ending in "2" and shall make its draft plan available to the public for inspection and comment not less than 10 days before such public hearing.
The Commission shall prepare and adopt, by majority vote, a final plan for reapportionment and file its plan with the Ulster County Board of Elections on or before July 20 of each year ending in "2."
The Commission's reapportionment plan shall have the force and effect of law and shall be deemed the reapportionment plan of the County Legislature commencing with the general election in the year ending in "3."
The Ulster County Board of Elections shall make adjustments as may be necessary and appropriate to comply with the adopted plan.
The County Legislature shall appropriate such funds as it deems are necessary for the Commission to effectively conduct its business. The expenditure of such funds shall be under the sole control and discretion of the Commission subject to the provisions set forth in this Charter and applicable federal, state, and local laws.
The Reapportionment Commission shall be dissolved on the day following the general election in years ending in "3."
The County Legislature shall be the legislative, appropriating and policy-determining body of the County and, as such, shall have and exercise all powers and duties now or hereafter conferred upon it by applicable law and any and all powers necessarily implied or incidental thereto, including but not limited to the power:
To make appropriations, levy taxes, incur indebtedness and adopt a budget, including a capital program;
To exercise all powers of local legislation in relation to enacting, amending, or rescinding local laws, legalizing acts, local laws, or resolutions;
By local law to adopt, amend or repeal an Administrative Code which shall set forth the details of administration of the County government consistent with the provisions of this Charter and which Administrative Code may contain revisions, simplifications, consolidations, modifications and restatements of special laws, local laws, resolutions, rules and regulations consistent with this Charter or amendments thereto;
By local law to create, alter, combine or abolish County administrative units;
To adopt by resolution all necessary rules and regulations for its own conduct and procedure;
Subject to the Constitution and general laws of the State of New York, to fix the number of hours constituting a legal day's work for all classes of County employees and, upon recommendation of the County Executive, grant to the department head the power to stagger work hours;
To grant by resolution to officers and employees of the County vacations, sick leaves, compensatory time and leaves of absence, with or without pay, and adopt rules and regulations in relation thereto;
To fix the compensation of all officers and employees paid from County funds or, for employees not covered by a collective bargaining agreement, to establish salary ranges within which the appointing authority shall have discretion to set the actual salary within the range;
To fix the amount of official bonds and undertakings of officers and employees;
To conduct studies and investigations in furtherance of its legislative functions and, in connection therewith, to obtain and employ professional and technical advice, appoint citizens' committees, commissions and boards, subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, and require the production of books, papers and other evidence deemed necessary or material to such studies or investigations. A subpoena issued under this section shall be regulated by the Civil Practice Law and Rules together with any state or federal laws or rules that may be applicable. The subpoena shall not extend to disclose the identity or jeopardize the safety of victims, confidential informants, witnesses, and undercover officers or operatives;
[Amended 8-14-2012 by L.L. No. 9-2012]
To create and establish the office of deputy or deputies to the head of any department, agency, or administrative unit;
To determine and make provision for any matter of government not otherwise provided for, including, but not by way of limitation, any necessary matter involved in the transition to this Charter form of government;
To determine and fix real property tax equalization rates among the various taxing districts of the County for County purposes consistent with standards prescribed by the Legislature of the State of New York and file the same in accordance with applicable law;
To approve the execution of all contracts in excess of $50,000 entered into by the County; and
[Added 8-14-2012 by L.L. No. 9-2012]
There shall be an Audit Committee consisting of seven members: The Chairman of the Legislature or his/her designee will serve on and chair the committee and will appoint two additional members, at least one of whom must be a County Legislator; the minority leader will appoint two members, at least one of whom must be a County Legislator; the County Executive or designee; the Comptroller or designee. The County Executive and the Comptroller shall be nonvoting members. It shall take the affirmative action of three out of the five voting members to act.
The Audit Committee shall:
Select the independent auditor to perform the annual audit of the books and records of the County;
Select the independent auditor in a fashion consistent with the County's existing procurement policy, and the Audit Committee shall consult with the Director of Purchasing in this respect; and
Report the independent auditor's findings to the Legislature, County Executive and County Comptroller.
Except as otherwise provided by this Charter, every local law, legalizing act, or resolution adopted by the County Legislature, except legislative branch appointments not otherwise subject to County Executive approval and resolutions establishing rules and regulations or other matters pertaining solely to the conduct of the Legislature, shall be certified by the Clerk of the Legislature and submitted within five days after passage to the County Executive for the County Executive's approval in writing.
If the County Executive approves the local law or resolution, he or she shall sign it and return it to the Clerk of the County Legislature; it shall then be deemed to have been adopted. If he or she disapproves the local law or resolution, he or she shall veto it by returning it within 10 days to the Clerk with his or her objections stated in writing, or 30 days in the case of a local law. Any resolution not returned within 10 days, or 30 days in the case of a local law, will be deemed to have been adopted. The Clerk shall present the local law or resolution with the County Executive's objections to the County Legislature at its next regular meeting, and these objections shall be entered in the Legislature's record, journal or minutes of proceedings.
Within 30 days after such receipt and entry, the County Legislature may reconsider such vetoed enactment and pass the same over the objections thereto by a favorable vote of at least 2/3 of the whole number of its elected members on a roll-call vote.
Adoption, amendment and repeal. The County Legislature may adopt, amend and repeal local laws by a majority vote of the total number of its members. Each local law shall embrace only one 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, the County may change, supersede or amend any act of the State Legislature.
Procedure. 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 referenda in connection therewith, shall be as provided in the Administrative Code or applicable law.
Referenda. Local laws shall be subject to mandatory or permissive referenda when required by this Charter or applicable law.
Effective date. 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.
Adoption, amendment and repeal. The County Legislature may adopt, amend and repeal resolutions by a majority vote of the total number of its members. Each resolution shall embrace only one 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.
Procedure. 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.
A proposed appointment or proposed appointments 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 Legislature in writing in sufficient time to allow the Clerk to inform the full Legislature of the proposed appointment or appointments at least 30 days prior to the Legislature's next scheduled meeting. The Legislature shall vote on the confirmation of such individual at its next regular meeting at least 30 days after such nomination has been made by the County Executive. If the Legislature fails to vote upon the proposed appointment or appointments, the proposed appointment or appointments shall be deemed confirmed. When an appointment is not confirmed by the Legislature, but such appointment was considered at a regular meeting of the Legislature, the appointment of the same individual for the same position may not be resubmitted by the County Executive for 12 months after the Legislature votes upon the proposed appointment.
Members of all citizens' committees, commissions and boards appointed pursuant to § C-11K of this Charter shall serve at the pleasure of the County Legislature. They shall serve without compensation other than for actual and necessary expenses within appropriations made therefor, unless otherwise provided by resolution of the County Legislature. The Chairman of the County Legislature shall be a member ex officio of all such committees, commissions and boards.
The organizational meeting of the County Legislature shall be conducted on or before the second Tuesday in January at the time and place designated in a written notice to be given each Legislator by the Clerk of the County Legislature not later than five 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.
At this organizational meeting, the members of the Legislature shall select a Chairman at the call of the Clerk of the Legislature in each year. The Chairman shall appoint members of the County Legislature to serve on such committees as are provided by the rules of such Legislature. The Clerk of the County Legislature shall preside at all meetings of the Legislature until such time as a Chairman has been designated by election or appointment. The failure to elect a Chairman or appoint committee members shall not prevent the County Legislature from transacting its ordinary business.
In the event of vacancy in the office of Chairman, the County Legislature shall fill that office in the manner provided by its rules. Should the County Legislature fail to select a Chairman within 30 days after that office shall become vacant for any reason, the County Executive shall appoint a member of the County Legislature to serve as Chairman for the balance of the calendar year.
The County Legislature shall fix by rule the time and place of its regular meetings, which shall be conducted at least once each calendar month. No prior notice of such meetings shall be required. Special meetings may be conducted at such times and places and upon such conditions and notice to all members as the County Legislature by rule may provide.
[Amended 8-14-2012 by L.L. No. 9-2012; 2-15-2017 by L.L. No. 1-2017]
During the first organizational meeting for each new County Legislature, a Clerk of the County Legislature shall be appointed by resolution by the County Legislature, and such appointed Clerk shall serve for the duration of the appointing Legislature’s term. In the event of vacancy, the Legislature shall appoint by resolution a new Clerk of the Legislature. The removal of the Clerk shall only be done by resolution with a favorable vote of at least 3/5 of the whole number of the Legislature. Deputy Clerks and employees of the Legislature shall be appointed in accordance with the Rules of Order of the Legislature.
Appointment. There shall be a Counsel to the Legislature who shall be appointed by the Chairman of the Legislature. At the time of his or her appointment, and throughout his or her term of office, the Counsel to the Legislature shall be and remain duly licensed and entitled to practice law in the State of New York. He or she shall be appointed on the basis of his or her legal experience and other qualifications for the responsibilities of this office. He or she shall be directly responsible to the Chairman of the Legislature and shall serve at the pleasure of the County Legislature.
Duties. The Counsel to the Legislature shall prepare local laws, resolutions, legalizing acts or other legislation or memoranda and opinions regarding these and perform other duties as required and assigned by the Chairman of the Legislature.
Minority Counsel. There shall also be a Minority Counsel who shall be an attorney at law licensed to practice law in the State of New York and who shall generally provide legal advice and assistance to the members of the County Legislature belonging to the political party holding the second largest number of seats in the Legislature. He or she shall be selected by that party's caucus and shall serve at the pleasure of said caucus.
To advise the Legislature, the Legislature may retain Special Counsel where it deems it necessary notwithstanding the provisions of § C-72 of this County Charter.
[Added 8-14-2012 by L.L. No. 9-2012]
A vacancy in the County Legislature shall be filled by appointment by the County Legislature of a qualified elector residing within the district no later than 30 days from the time at which the vacancy occurs. If the appointment is not made within 30 days, a special election shall be conducted to fill the vacancy within 90 days after the vacancy occurs; provided, however, that if there is a scheduled general election within 120 days after said vacancy occurs, the vacancy shall be filled at that general election. A person who fills a vacancy, if appointed or elected at a special election, shall serve until commencement of the calendar year next succeeding the first general election after the happening of the vacancy at which a successor may be elected, and the vacancy shall be filled at such election for the unexpired term. A person elected at a general election to fill a vacancy shall serve out the remainder of the term for that seat.