Saturday, June 7, 2008

COMMENTARY: Proposed Revision to Charter is Promising

According to a thought-provoking June 7 New Era editorial, the Home Rule Commission is considering selecting future County Commissioners by districts, rather than at large.

This would be a big improvement over the current proposal that would reduce minority party representation from one of three commissioners to one of five. NewsLanc considered any such provision to virtually render the Charter D. O. A. (Dead on arrival.)

However we would not necessarily want for Lancaster City and Township to be one district as given as an example, because such Gerrymandering would virtually assure that the minority party would only be represented by a single commissioner. District boundaries should be negotiated beforehand between the local Republican and Democratic Parties and, upon passing of the Charter, approved as reasonable by a judge.

And we further disagree with the New Era that commissioners might earn only $10,000, ostensibly because they would only be involved in setting county policy. Unless we intend that the County Executive to be a virtual dictator during his or her term, the commissioners must exercise over sight for the administration of the government.

Also legislation, which includes approving budgets and adjusting taxes, isn’t just a matter of showing up and voting. It requires considerable exploration, research, vetting with constituents, and some travel. Pay only $10,000 a year, and only the rich or those unqualified or without the time to properly perform as commissioners will seek the office.

As they say, "You get what you pay for."