Consensus CNY

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Democratic Syracuse mayoral candidate Juanita Perez Williams called on the other three candidates in the race to sign a letter pledging not to support the proposed city and Onondaga County government merger outlined in the Consensus report on government consolidation. Perez Williams said her opponents have failed to say where they stand on the issue.

"From day one I've been talking about this," Perez Williams said. "We need to know from our next leader that they're going to stand up for the city." 

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A hot topic among local governments in central New York recently, is proposing ways to share services. But one Syracuse mayoral candidate with ties to the Consensus Commission on government consolidation is sharing his thoughts on its most controversial recommendation.

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The principal recommendation of the final report of the Consensus Commission on Local Government Modernization is to establish a new municipal form of government for Onondaga County, with a single executive and a 33-seat legislature. There has been much debate on the issue, including a recent debate on the issue at Syracuse University's Maxwell School. 

The principal recommendation of the final report of the Consensus Commission on Local Government Modernization is to establish a new municipal form of government for Onondaga County, with a single executive and a 33-seat legislature. While public forums and town hall meetings have been held to discuss the report, and the proposal has been both criticized and defended in the media, missing is a direct exchange between opposing views, with opportunities for challenge and rebuttal.

Campbell Public Affairs Institute

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney launched a new website to correct what she calls bad information regarding the Consensus recommendations on government consolidation. This comes after a debate was held at Syracuse University last week regarding the proposed city-county government merger.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Central New York legislators are split on the recent state budget process. While some see significant gains, others see missed opportunities and purely political motivations.

State Sen. David Valesky with the Independent Democratic Conference said there is a lot to be pleased about in the state's new spending plan.

“By and large I think this was a tremendously successful state budget,” Valesky said.

The budget includes infrastructure investments, college affordability and raising the age of criminal responsibility to 18 years old.

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The principal recommendation of the Final Report of the Consensus Commission on Local Government Modernization is to establish a new municipal form of government for Onondaga County, with a single executive and a 33-seat legislature.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Items in the New York state budget that affect central New York were highlighted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo while he was in Syracuse Wednesday. The budget includes a continuing push for government and service consolidation.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

While the idea of merging the city of Syracuse and Onondaga County isn’t getting much traction, a special legislative committee has begun work that could lead to some other kinds of government consolidation.

The Consensus Commission proposal to create one large metropolitan government is dead on arrival, according to county lawmakers, but some of the 49 other proposals in the Consensus report could have legs.

A special subcommittee is now looking over those ideas, first by identifying consolidations that could be easy to accomplish, according to chairman Kevin Holmquist.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Syracuse Democratic Councilor Khalid Bey is looking to expand his influence by running for an open at-large seat on the Common Council in November. Bey is the chair of economic development in a city where growth is lacking.

The city of Syracuse is ranked last in economic growth out of the top 100 municipalities in the U.S., according to a new study from the Brookings Institution.

Bey said it is at the discretion of the mayor of Syracuse, Stephanie Miner, to negotiate and enter business contracts and to decide how to spend the city's money.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Republican candidate for mayor of Syracuse Laura Lavine said she would turn the city around like she has with the Lafayette School District. Lavine has spent 40 years in public education and is in her third year as the district’s superintendent. Lavine said she would use her administrative skills as mayor.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

In a wide ranging State of the County speech last night, Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney went on the defensive, saying many economic development projects, proposals and plans are often unfairly represented by critics across Central New York.

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Last week on the program, we heard an argument supporting the Consensus Commission on Government Modernization's final report for Onondaga County, which among other things, recommends the merging of governments for the county and city of Syracuse. This week, we hear from two critics of the report, Rob Bick from the town of Clay and Howie Hawkins from the city of Syracuse.

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Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney continues to be one of the only public officials willing to let the Consensus Commission proposal to create a municipal government play out. Mahoney suggests opponents are drowning out many of the facts in the debate over government consolidation.

Mahoney is on a political island locally, when it comes to the Consensus Commission proposal to create a new metropolitan government if a public referendum warrants it.

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The Green Party in central New York likes the idea of creating a new government structure, just not the one put forward by Consensus CNY.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

After an unsuccessful bid for the Onondaga County Legislature, Democrat Timothy Rudd is running for Syracuse's Common Council. Rudd said he is not opposed to the idea of one day merging the governments of the county and the city.

Rudd said he opposes the current Consensus proposal to merge the governments.

WRVO News / File Photo

The final report of the Commission on Local Government Modernization, better known as Consensus, has generated controversy, in particular the recommendation to establish a new form of metropolitan government that would include both the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County.  This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher is joined by CenterState CEO president Rob Simpson, who is an advocate of consolidation and was involved in the report.  They discuss the report’s main findings and to address the political challenges they face.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Republican majority of the Onondaga County Legislature is coming out against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan for government consolidation and the Consensus plan to merge the city of Syracuse and county governments. Some legislators said the governor and the Onondaga County executive are alone in their support for a merged government.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner isn’t backing down from her opposition to a proposal to merge the city of Syracuse and Onondaga County into a metropolitan government. The mayor doesn’t see any benefit to city residents in the 50 proposals included in the final report of the Consensus Commission on government consolidation.

Miner says if followed through, the recommendation to create a metropolitan government, would leave the city in a weak position on a couple of fronts.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Consensus Commission’s final report on government modernization for central New York is in. There are 50 recommendations that propose government consolidation in the areas of infrastructure, public safety, municipal operations and economic development. 

Consensus CNY

It’s been almost a year since the Consensus CNY creleased more than 50 recommendations for modernizing government in Onondaga County. After months of meetings and public forums early last year, the volunteer group has yet to release a final report, and one local legislative leader says whenever it finally comes out, central New Yorkers won’t see big changes anytime soon.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

There’s some personnel shuffling going on in the higher echelons of Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner’s lame duck administration.

The new man in city hall will be former Onondaga County Court Judge Joseph Fahey. He’s coming out of retirement to become Miner’s top legal advisor, as corporation counsel, and expects to weigh in on a number of things.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Onondaga County Comptroller Robert Antonacci is speaking out against the Consensus CNY commission’s preliminary report on local government consolidation released earlier this year. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

CenterState CEO President Rob Simpson said despite encouraging economic developments in central New York over the past few years, the economy and population of the region is stagnant. Simpson said the current trajectory of Syracuse and Onondaga County is not sustainable.

“Does our community have the appetite to disrupt this cycle, this system, of economic stagnation, or don’t we?” Simpson asked.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News File Photo

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said there are too many unanswered questions about the proposed government merger between her city and Onondaga County. Miner weighed in on the Consensus CNY recommendations for the first time since they were revealed earlier this year, telling Onondaga County's Conservative Party over the weekend that she cannot definitively support or oppose the consolidation plan without more information.

For the last two weeks on the Campbell Conversations, you've heard from two proponents of the preliminary Consensus Report regarding government consolodation in the Syracuse region.  This week on the program, host Grant Reeher talks with two critics, Syracuse City Councilor Khalid Bey and Town of Clay Assessor Rob Bick.  Together, they raise concerns about the need for change, the cost and tax implications of the recommendations, political representation, the impact on education and school taxes, and the process for considering and implementing the report.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney used her State of the County speech last night to push the concept of consolidated government.  

Mahoney ran down a litany of speeches, quotes, editorials and newspaper articles from the last 23 years that sounded eerily familiar to the soundbites coming out of today’s Consensus CNY forums. Consensus is the community group that’s proposing 51 ways to modernize government, including creation of a metropolitan government. Mahoney explained why the look at past efforts:

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News file photo

Residents are being asked to offer up opinions about government consolidation tonight at the Southwest Community Center in Syracuse, the latest public forum about modernizing the way government runs in Onondaga County.  It’s the first session since Consensus CNY decided to take the public engagement portion of the process into mid-Spring.

Last week, Campbell Conversation host Grant Reeher spoke with former Congressman Jim Walsh and CenterStateCEO President Rob Simpson about the Commission on Local Government Modernization’s Consensus Report regarding government consolidation.  Their conversation continues this week, with a focus on the objections that have been raised about the report’s recommendations, and how those recommendations might impact taxes, schools, and other important aspects of life in Central N

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Residents of Onondaga County will have more time to have their say about reorganizing local government. There have been calls for more time to look at an 80-page report that includes 51 recommendations for changing the way government works in central New York.

The deadline for public comment had been March 16. But Friday morning, Consensus CNY extended the comment period by six weeks, to May 1.

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