The Glen Cove City Council voted against reestablishing the Charter Revision Commission after a public hearing last week. A number of residents voiced their concerns over the necessity of the commission, which was established in 2015, as well as the referendums the commission was hoping to get on the November ballot for a public vote.
“It’s my understanding that the charter revision commission has three proposed charter amendments,” said city attorney Charlie McQuair. “Under sections of the municipal law, the commission needed to present those questions by the 2017 election. They didn’t do it and by establishing this, they will be allowed to present those questions.”
Commission member Carolyn Willson explained that the commission came up with three items they thought they public might be interested in that they could not change and the council could not change, but would have to be done through a ballot referendum.
“We put out surveys both in print and online and got back a large response and felt that the public would like to have a say on these items and created the ballot referendum items,” said Willson. “We felt it was only fair to open it up to the residents of Glen Cove to have say. If you don’t approve this, nothing will change.”
Glenn Howard, another member of the commission, said that an extensive amount of research has been done over the years.
“The recommendations being made are not trivial. They are not being done without thought or consideration,” said Howard, adding that public information meetings had been held in which they had been expecting more public input, but did not get good turnouts.
Resident Tip Henderson said, “I’m against re-establishment of the commission at this time. I don’t have enough information to make an informed decision as to whether the [referendums] are good for Glen Cove.”
Had the resolution passed, the commission would have had to submit the ballot referendums to the Board of Elections by Sept. 4. The three items under consideration were extending the term limits of the mayor, staggering terms of city council members and extending the term limits of the city council members.
Other members of the commission included David Nieri, Vincent Hartley, John Charon, Anthony Jimenez, Eve Lupenko, John Hanley and Phyllis Burnett.
After hearing from both the public and members of the commission, the city council ultimately voted against the commission’s reestablishment.
“I know the hard work the commission put behind this,” said Councilman Joseph Capobianco. “Unfortunately, I’m not prepared to reinstitute the commission at this time.”
Councilmen Michael Zangari, Nick DiLeo and Kevin Maccarone also voted against the resolution, as did Councilwoman Marsha Silverman. Councilwoman Pamela Panzenbeck and Mayor Tenke were the only aye votes.
“This is one of the most difficult votes I’ve ever had to make. I know how hard they have worked,” said Panzenbeck, acknowledging her vote was “moot.”
To the commission members, Tenke said, “You all worked diligently and came up with some great changes that were needed. The charter needs to be looked at on a regular basis. I believe the charter is better because you looked at it, updated it and fixed it. I’m sorry you wont be able to put it to a vote in November.”