News & Opinion » News

Dinolfo supports GOP bill to curtail Bello’s authority

by

Monroe County Executive-elect Adam Bello addresses the media Wednesday, November 13, 2019. - PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE
  • PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE
  • Monroe County Executive-elect Adam Bello addresses the media Wednesday, November 13, 2019.

Outgoing Republican Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo supports legislation that would curtail the authority of her Democratic successor, Adam Bello, to choose his own cabinet, a county spokesperson said Wednesday.

The bill was introduced late Tuesday by majority Republican county legislators at the legislature's regular monthly meeting.

Known as the CABLE Act of 2019, an acronym for "Checks and Balances for Legislative Equality," the legislation would amend the county charter to give the legislature the power to approve the county executive's choices for the directors of every county department.

Department heads are appointed by the county executive, and the charter currently grants the legislature the power to approve a handful of them.

But the amendment would require the legislature to approve all of them, and would expand the list of positions that need legislative approval to include deputy county executives, records management officers, and the county lawyer.

"The CABLE Act of 2019 ensures a co-equal branch of government provided residents across Monroe County greater transparency and oversight on how their tax dollars are spent," the county spokesman, Jesse Sleezer, said in a statement. "The county executive respects and supports this legislation."

Bello cast the legislation as underhanded and a surprise at a news conference at the County Office Building.

"Putting a proposal like this together . . . is not acting in good faith," Bello said. "This is not the way county government is supposed to run. This is not how I think voters expected this to happen and play out and I'm disappointed."

He said he received a congratulatory text from the Republican president of the legislature, Dr. Joe Carbone, on Election Day that suggested the majority looked forward to working with Bello's administration. 

Legislator Vincent Felder, D-Rochester, decried Republican legislation that would limit the county executive's authority as "petty" and "vindictive." - PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE
  • PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE
  • Legislator Vincent Felder, D-Rochester, decried Republican legislation that would limit the county executive's authority as "petty" and "vindictive."

Democratic Legislator Vincent Felder, of Rochester, said the legislation suggested Republicans, who have ruled the executive and legislative branches for nearly three decades, "believe Monroe County belongs to them, not to the voters."

"I think it's petty, very vindictive, and I'm disappointed in my colleagues that they would even propose this," Felder said.

The legislation was introduced as a "matter of urgency," meaning it can bypass the typical legislative process of going through committee. According to a memo introducing the legislation, the bill would be subject to a public referendum and a vote next month.

Some Democratic legislators seized on a provision in state law - Municipal Home Rule Law Section 23 - that says local laws curtailing the powers of an elected official shall be subject to a public referendum.

"The proposed bill certainly seems to fit that description and, as such, I believe the bill should be put to a referendum if it passes the legislature and is signed by the lame-duck executive," Legislator Justin Wilcox, a Democrat from Brighton, said.

Bello said his aides were examining the law to see how it might apply in this situation.

David Andreatta is CITY's editor. He can be reached at dandreatta@rochester-citynews.com.

Tags