The challenge is to amend the law so that the desire of one does not interfere with the interests of many without curtailing the power of the mayor, since a referendum is required when an action by the legislature changes the executive's power.
Soon after the July Legal Committee meeting at which amending the process was discussed, Gossips discovered, while searching the Common Council minutes for clues about what happened to the Hudson-Fulton fountain, that a similar situation had occurred a hundred years ago. The following excerpt is from the minutes for January 26, 1911:
Alderman McAree inquired as to whether the Mayor had given permission to representatives of the Italian Church to discharge fireworks recently, and Alderman Finigan inquired as to whether the Mayor was liable in case of an accident resulting from his granting such permission.
The Recorder read Ordinance No. 36 in relation to the subject.
Alderman McAree then moved that the Finance Committee be authorized and directed to amend Ordinance No. 36, so as to curtail the discretion given to the Mayor.
Alderman Finigan suggested that if the Mayor was to be given such discretion he should be required to give a bond in order to indemnify the city.
The motion of Alderman McAree was adopted.A hundred years ago, the Common Council seemed to have no constraints when it came to curtailing the executive's powers. The minutes for March 2, 1911, reveal the reason why the Common Council wanted to hold the mayor responsible for his decisions.
A claim of Basil Halloran for $15,000 damages, for alleged injuries received by an explosion of a piece of fireworks which he picked up in an alley north of Robinson St. was read, received and placed on file.The piece of fireworks that injured Halloran was no doubt from the fireworks discharged by the "Italian Church." According to the 1912 Hudson city directory, St. Maria Del Monte Carmelo was located at "Market Place," North Front Street near Diamond Street.
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