Gossips has already reported on one issue talked about at the Legal Committee meeting last Wednesday: the reaction of landlords to the Statewide Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act. There were a couple of other things of interest that came up at the meeting as well.
The first was a resolution to amend the residency qualifications for the city attorney. In 2017, the residency requirement for police officers was changed from 15 road miles to 20 linear miles in order to enlarge the pool of people who could be hired as Hudson police officers. The proposal now being advanced by the Legal Committee would amend the code to allow the city attorney to live within a 50 mile radius of Hudson, in other words, to enable the appointment as city attorney of someone who lives outside Columbia County.
Audience member Kristal Heinz, herself an attorney, asked, "Is there a need for that?" Having asked the question, she hastily clarified that she was not interested in the job. In his answer, Alderman John Rosenthal (Fourth Ward), who chairs the Legal Committee, talked about giving the new mayor freedom in appointing a city attorney. Heinz persisted, "Is there a shortage of attorneys in the city?" Rosenthal replied that they wanted to created a "bigger pool." It's easy to read between the lines and infer that mayor presumptive Kamal Johnson and his team have someone in mind for city attorney who lives somewhere outside Columbia County but within a 50-mile radius of Hudson.
Another resolution considered by the Legal Committee originated in the mayor's office and proposed that the terms of the mayor, Common Council president, and treasurer be increased from two years to four years. The change in term length would be the subject of a referendum in 2020 and, were the referendum successful, would take effect in 2021. Alderman Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward), who sits on the Legal Committee, declared she would not support the resolution because it did not include the aldermen. She argued that the aldermen's terms also needed to be four years. As a consequence, it was decided that, before it was forwarded to the entire Council, the resolution would be amended to include the aldermen and the supervisors.
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