Commission to study local government in Onondaga County

2014-01-28T18:00:00Z Commission to study local government in Onondaga CountySkaneateles Journal staff report Auburn Citizen
January 28, 2014 6:00 pm  • 

SYRACUSE | The town and village of Skaneateles will be part of a comprehensive study of government structure in Onondaga County launched by the Commission on Local Government Modernization in an effort to provide better services more efficiently to the community.

The effort, called Consensus, will be led by Neil Murphy, who most recently served as president of SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Catherine Richardson, a retired attorney with the firm Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC., and former U.S. Rep. James Walsh.

Sixteen community and business leaders will join the three co-chairs and together will review:

  • The number and types of local government in Onondaga County and the costs associated with those governments.
  • The nature and extent of services delivered by various types of local governments.
  • Opportunities and barriers to restructuring local government functions and services and the extent to which more efficient practices can improve the performance of local government and the delivery of public services.

The commission will also make recommendations relative to:

  • Strengthening and streamlining the structure and operations of local governments.
  • Improving the effectiveness and reducing the costs of local government operations and services.
  • Facilitating the merger, consolidation and partnering in the delivery of services by and between local governments.

Bi-partisan support for the creation of the commission and the work it will do on behalf of Onondaga County residents includes a $250,000 state grant secured by state Sen. John DeFrancisco, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and supported by state Sen. David Valesky.

The establishment of the commission has received broad support from the community.

Together, SYRACUSE 20/20, CenterState CEO, FOCUS Greater Syracuse, the League of Women Voters of Syracuse Metropolitan Area, Onondaga Citizens League and the Homebuilders & Remodelers Association of CNY called for the creation of a local government modernization commission.

It was also one of four key initiates outlined in the region’s business plan – The CenterState Agenda for Economic Opportunity.

Onondaga County is the first county in New York State to create such a commission. The analysis and recommendations made in Onondaga County will serve as a blueprint for other communities across the state.

Last year, the Onondaga County Legislature and the Syracuse Common Council passed joint resolutions seeking state funding to hire an outside consultant who will support the efforts of Syracuse 20/20 as it studies how municipal services are provided and what opportunities exist to modernize.

The commission is expected to complete its analysis in 10 to 12 months and make its recommendations by the end of 2015. To learn more about Consensus, visit

Copyright 2015 Auburn Citizen. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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