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GOP leaders to address controversial CABLE Act bill

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The Monroe County Legislature's Republican Majority Leader Brian Marianetti and its president, Republican Joseph Carbone.
  • The Monroe County Legislature's Republican Majority Leader Brian Marianetti and its president, Republican Joseph Carbone.

The Republican president and majority leader of the Monroe County Legislature were slated Thursday to speak to specifics about their introduction of legislation that, among other things, would curtail the authority of the incoming county executive.

President Joseph Carbone, of Irondequoit, and Majority Leader Brian Marianetti, of Greece, scheduled a news conference for 2 p.m., at which they were expected to defend the legislation, known as the CABLE Act of 2019.

The bill, which is an acronym for "Checks and Balances for Legislative Equality," has been met with widespread public condemnation in light of last week's election, which saw a Democrat elected county executive for the first time in more than 30 years.

On Wednesday, an aide to Republican legislators distributed to media outlets what was billed as a "clarifying fact sheet" for the legislation. The sheet listed nine points, most of which had been covered by local media outlets, including CITY and its reporting partner WXXI News.

Some of the points were subjective in their assertions, such as one that stated "the legislature looks forward to working with the incoming county administration and this legislation will ensure that we will be true county partners."

One point stood out, however. It asserted that many of the provisions in the legislation "are past proposals from the Democrat minority."

The legislation includes several proposals. The most controversial of them is one giving 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 County Charter currently grants the legislature the authority to approve a handful of them.

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

That provision is the primary source of the public outrage, and has never been proposed by Democratic legislators.

Other provisions of the legislation, however, have been supported by Democrats.

They include a provision requiring the county executive to release before October 15 the proposed county budget for the upcoming fiscal year. That had been the deadline to release the budget prior to 2006, when Republican legislators pushed it back to November 15.

The later date enabled the county executive at the time, Maggie Brooks, a Republican, to release her budget, and the potentially controversial elements tucked into it, after Election Day.

Democrats have long objected to the date change and have submitted legislation to change it. The legislation went nowhere.

Another provision that Democratic legislators could get behind is one requiring the executive branch to respond to correspondence from the legislative branch within 30 days.

Democratic legislators have never submitted legislation to that effect, but they have publicly complained for years that Republican administrations have been slow to respond to their communiques.

Lastly, the legislation calls for lowering to $5,000 the threshold for legislative approval of county contracts.

Republican legislators in 2014 raised the threshold to $20,000 from $5,000 with the support of Democrats. According to the memo introducing the CABLE Act of 2019, the threshold was raised with an understanding that just six contracts would fall between those amounts.

Now, according to the memo, there are more than 60 contracts annually that fall within the gap. Democrats have not proposed legislation to lower the threshold.

This story is developing and will be updated Thursday following the 2 p.m. news conference hosted by Republican legislative leaders.

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

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