Updated Feb. 1:
It may have just been released, but the report calling for government consolidation has been on the minds of some folks for a long time.
One meeting attendee said part of the problems Onondaga County and the city of Syracuse are facing stems from “bad leadership” and decades of “terrible public policy.”
The Consensus Commission made more than 50 recommendations — combining the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department and Syracuse Police and also combining the county and city Industrial Development Agencies are only two of them.
When it comes to law enforcement, Commission member Darlene Kerr says consolidation appears favorable.
“Those two departments said that if they were to design this system today, they would have one Metro police department,” Kerr said.
For many in attendance at the public meeting at the DeWitt Community Library — the timing is just unrealistic.
“They worked with this proposal information for 18 months,” said Shanna Eck, of Syracuse. “We as a township have six weeks to form an opinion based on rhetoric versus concrete information. I’d be curious to see where this is going.”
More than 70 people came to the meeting in DeWitt. It was standing room only.
A good turnout for one of the first meetings, but some worried there weren’t enough young people in attendance.
“I think the average person in this room was 55 to 70, it was a pretty mature audience,” Eck said. “Where are all the young people? We have 20 year olds, we have 18 year olds, we have a community of people that live in this town and pay taxes.”
32-year-old Mikiel Anderson also worries his generation and younger might not even consider staying in the area after they finish school.
“They would rather move out,” Anderson said. “Rather than stay and really work on making an impact or making a difference in the city of Syracuse and Onondaga County as a whole.”
Anderson says he’ll come to more meetings and hopefully convince some friends to tag along.
According to Commission member Darlene Kerr, the group also hopes to attract more diversity at these public meetings.
“The Consensus Commission has three overriding goals here and that’s to provide better government, to spur economic growth across the entire county area and to provide a more inclusive and representative government to include all different types of people, a cross-section of the community,” Kerr explained. “We want this government to represent everyone.”
It’s only the beginning of the Commission’s plans to gather comments and questions with the future of an entire county at stake.
Reported Jan. 31:
Consensus, the Commission on Local Government Modernization, is holding the first of its public engagement meetings Monday.
The meetings are open to the public and are designed to gather feedback on the Consensus Options Report and Preliminary Committee Recommendations.
The report was published in late January.
There’s two meetings on Monday, February 1:
- Southwest Community Center, 6 – 8 p.m. 401 South Avenue, Syracuse, NY 13204
- Dewitt Community Library, 6 – 7:30 p.m. ShoppingTown Mall, 3649 Erie Boulevard East, Dewitt, NY 13214
Consensus public engagement meetings will be held throughout the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County through March 16.
The Commission will then review and consider all public comments and issue its final recommendations in late April 2016.
For a full schedule of meetings, visit the public comment website.