The offer still remains open to all so feel free to e-mail us if you're interested. Without further ado, Reformus Publicus.
While giving themselves a pay raise during the lame duck session may have been legal, the morality of the actions of the Rensselaer County legislators is exceedingly questionable. Only Mayor Stratton of Schenectady showed any moral fortitude in this political climate by rescinding his raise.
Rather than dwell on who said what to whom, or how the raise came about, let us discuss the current situation. The Republican leadership believes that knowledge and participation in government is not necessary. They believe as long as services continue, nobody cares how laws are made or the debate surrounding these laws. Jefferson and Madison must be spinning in their graves. And stopping the proposed law in the Rules Committee seems disingenuous. The Republicans can hide under all the rules and procedures that they like, but at the end of the day, the truth remains.
If Democrats (and brave Republicans) wish to make a moral stand and show that this government is of the people, then both the pay raise legislation and changing the debate process must go forward. More importantly, the elective process must be revised to ensure more appropriate representation and accountability to the citizens of Rensselaer County.
First, county legislative terms should be reduced to two years and should be term limited to no more than 16 years. Secondly, to ensure better representation, each county legislator should come from a specific district. Rather than having six at-large legislators in Troy, there should be one from each of the council districts. Representation from the towns should be along traditional political boundaries and based on the current population. One man one vote.
Be brave. Take a step toward democracy.