Local government limits power of Mayor of Binghamton

On election night, the constituents of Binghamton, NY had the opportunity to review Proposition 1. The issue to be voted on stated

“Pursuant to Municipal Home Rule Law sections 23, should the City of Binghamton amend its Charter and Code ofthe City of Binghamton to reduce the percentage of all the members of the common council necessary to override a mayoral veto of legislation from thee fourths (3/4) to two thirds (2/3)?”

The result of the vote, from 8,889 voters was Yes (58.13% of vote). But what exactly does it mean?

The proposition does exactly what it sounds like. It limits the power of the Mayor of Binghamton to veto decisions by the City Council. This reduction means that from now on 5 votes out of 7 from City Councilmembers will be required to override the Mayor.

The need for the change occurred after Mayor Matt Ryan’s veto in January 2012 was overridden for the first time in 4 years. During those 4 years there were no Republicans on the City Council, and Mayor Ryan is a Democrat. There were 3 vetoes from Mayor Ryan in conjunction with the 2012 budget process, each was overridden.

Binghamton City Councilwoman Teri Rennia stated on November 5th,

“It’s really not a shift in power and council was successful in overriding a couple of mayoral vetoes last year around the budget process, but there had been many, many more before that council had not been successful in.”

When asked about Proposition 1 and the election results from national to the local level, the response from the Office of the Mayor of Binghamton was

“The Mayor isn’t available to comment at this time, but could be tomorrow. [Mayor Ryan] is encouraged that President Obama won re-election, but disappointed by some of the local results, including the passage of Proposition 1.” – Office of the Mayor of Binghamton email, November 7, 2012

Mayor Matt Ryan and wife at Tarik Abdelazim fundraiser
The other local results include the wins by all incumbents, specifically State Senator Tom Libous whom Mayor Ryan filed an ethics complaint against on April 16th though Sen. Libous has not been accused of wrongdoing by federal prosecutors. Further, Broome County Executive Debbie Preston won re-election – Mayor Ryan was a supporter of challenger Tarik Abdelazim – as well Rep. Richard Hanna who was opposed by Dan Lamb – also endorsed by Mayor Ryan.

We look forward to futher comment from Mayor Ryan when he is available for comment, and to see how future vetoes are resolved with the City Council.

About the Author

Michael Vass
Born in 1968, a political commentator for over a decade. Has traveled the U.S. and lived in Moscow and Tsblisi, A former stockbroker and 2014 Congressional candidate. Passionate about politics with emphasis on 1st and 2nd Amendments.

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