Saratoga Dems endorse Charter Change

At its August 22 meeting, the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee overwhelmingly endorsed the City Charter Amendment that will be on the ballot this November to change the form of government in the City of Saratoga Springs to provide for a six member city council elected from wards of equal size, presided over by a Mayor elected citywide and the appointment of a professional city manager.

“This is truly historic. I am pleased to announce that the Democratic party is now off the sidelines on this critical issue. We believe that the proposed change in the form of our local government is consistent with our most fundamental democratic ideals, including the separation of executive and legislative powers.” said Chair, Sarah J. Burger, Esq.

Here is the resolution as approved by the SSDC:

On this 22 day of August, 2020, at a meeting duly called of the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee, hereinafter SSDC, at which a quorum was present,

            WHEREAS, in 1915, the City of Saratoga Springs adopted its current Commission form of government, in which five non-professional elected citizens manage City operations, while simultaneously acting as the policy-making body of the City government; and

WHEREAS, since then the City of Saratoga Springs has grown and changed, and the City now faces significant complex challenges and long-term opportunities that SSDC believes require professional, trained and experienced municipal management; and

WHEREAS, it is the mission of the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee (SSDC) to promote the principles of the Democratic Party in the open and inclusive governance of Saratoga Springs for the maintenance and continued improvement of the well-being and quality of life for all city residents; and

WHEREAS, SSDC believes that it is in the best interests of the City to increase representation on the governing body of the City of the various communities and neighborhoods within the City, many of which have been under-represented historically on the City Council; and 

WHEREAS, SSDC believes that it is in the best interests of the City to improve efficiency in the operation of the City and to encourage cooperation between departments within City government; and

WHEREAS, the SSDC recognizes that a fundamental principle of democracy is the separation of executive and  legislative powers, as this “separation of powers” is, in the words of Federalist Paper number 51, “The Structure of the Government [That] Must Furnish the Proper Checks and Balances Between the Different Departments”; and

WHEREAS, a citizen-led initiative to change the form of City government to a Council/Manager form, in which an elected governing body made up of representatives of six districts within the City headed by a Mayor with policy oversight will hire a professional City Manager to administer day-to-day operations of the City will be submitted to the voters of the City in November, 2020;

NOW THEREFORE,

It is RESOLVED that the SSDC supports  and endorses the effort to amend the Charter of the City of Saratoga Springs to provide for a  City Council elected from six neighborhood wards of equal population, presided by a Mayor elected citywide, and for the appointment of a professional City Manager and other administrative officials accountable to the Council.

The complete text of the charter proposal is available here: CHARTER 2020 FINAL PDF June 29 2020(1). (PDF download)

Here is the proposition as it will appear on the November ballot: “Shall the Saratoga Springs City Charter be amended to provide for a City Council elected from six neighborhood wards of equal population, presided by a Mayor elected citywide, and for the appointment of a professional City Manager and other administrative officials accountable to the Council?”

More information on the Charter Change issue will be added as it becomes available through the election season.