County Executive Joanie Mahoney Proposes Onondaga County Government Redesign Package

Package includes term limits, elected official salary review and clarifies ban on outside income

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney today announced a package of legislation to redesign Onondaga County Government. The legislation is a comprehensive plan that includes term limits, salaries and clarifies outside income limits.

“With the recent conversation about sharing services and working together, it’s important for the public and the municipalities we are asking to partner with us to see transparent rules that clearly define how County government will operate,” said County Executive Joanie Mahoney. “Onondaga County government will lead the way with a package of legislation that will further the public’s confidence. People will know exactly what to expect from public officials and public officials will have clear guidelines about what it means to serve the public.”

The proposed legislation has three components:

  1. Establishes a two-term (8 years) limit for all countywide elected officials, and a four term (8 year) limit for members of the County Legislature.
  2. Returns countywide official salaries to what they were when the official began their first term.

“There was a deliberate campaign of misinformation when the legislature last took up the issue of pay raises and it resulted in hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars being wasted on baseless lawsuits. The public should never have to endure that again,” Mahoney said.

  1. Reiterates and reinforces the County Charter’s ban on outside employment to ensure that full-time countywide elected officials dedicate their whole time to the full-time job to which they were elected and prohibits outside employment income. It does include an exemption for public service and each instance must be approved by the Onondaga County Board of Ethics.

Onondaga County Executive, Joanie Mahoney

“There has been a lot of discussion about outside income for elected officials at both the state and local level,” Mahoney said. “While our charter is clear that countywide elected officials must dedicate their whole time to the full-time job to which they were elected, the use of the term “whole time” has allowed people to improperly define it themselves. This clarification makes it crystal clear that public officials who collect a full time pay check from the public serve only the public. It takes away any question about whose interests we serve.”

Items one and two require a ballot referendum and if the Onondaga County Legislature passes them then the public will have the opportunity to vote in November. Item three requires a simple majority of the County Legislature.