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Article 2 - Legislative Branch - Charter


Section 201. County legislature constituted.
  202. Powers and duties.
  202.1 Qualifications and eligibility of county legislators.
  202.2 Elections and terms of office.
  202.3 Increasing the salaries of county elected officials.
  203. Local laws; definition; power to adopt, amend and repeal; effect on legislative acts.
  204. Form and procedure.
  205. Procedure for adoption of local laws.
  206. Filing and publication of local laws; judicial notice.
  207. Referendum.
  208. Effective date.
  209. Ordinances.
  210. Advisory committee on reapportionment.
  211. Approval of independent auditors.

Section 201. County legislature constituted. The county legislature shall be composed of eleven members who shall be elected one from each of the eleven legislative districts set forth in section one hundred five hereof. The county legislators representing the eleven districts heretofore or herein created, as the case may be, when lawfully convened shall constitute the county legislature which shall be the legislative and governing body of the county.

Amended by Local Law No. 1-2010.
Amended by Local Law No. 3-2006.
Amended by Local Law No. 4-2002.
Amended by Local Law No. 1 1967.
Amended by Local Law No. 1 1966.

Section 202. Powers and duties. Except as otherwise provided in this charter, the county legislature shall have and exercise all powers and duties of the county, all powers and duties heretofore or hereafter conferred or imposed on said county legislature or other county legislative body by applicable law, and all powers necessarily incidental thereto. All provisions of applicable law wherein powers and duties are conferred upon the legislative body of a county of the state of New York shall be construed to refer to the county legislature of Erie county.

The county legislature shall have, but not by way of limitation, the following powers and duties:

  1. To make appropriations, levy taxes and incur indebtedness.
  2. To exercise all powers of local legislation in relation to enacting, amending, repealing or rescinding local laws, legalizing acts, ordinances or resolutions, subject to veto by the county executive in such instances as are specifically provided in this charter.
    Amended by Local Law No. 10 1974.
  3. By local law to adopt, amend and repeal an administrative code which shall set forth the details of administration of the county government in harmony with the provisions of this charter and may contain revisions, simplifications, consolidations, codifications and restatements of special laws, local laws, ordinances, resolutions, rules and regulations consistent with this charter.
  4. By local law to create, alter, combine or abolish county administrative units not headed by elective officers.
  5. To adopt by resolution all necessary rules and regulations for its conduct and procedure.
  6. To fix the compensation of all officers and employees paid from county funds, except members of the judiciary.
  7. To fix the amount of bonds of officers and employees paid from county funds.
  8. To make such studies and investigations as it deems to be in the best interest of the county, and in connection therewith to obtain professional and technical advice, appoint temporary advisory boards of citizens, subpoena witnesses, administer oaths and require the production of books, papers and other evidence, deemed necessary or material to the study or inquiry.
  9. To determine and make provision for any matter of county government not otherwise provided for, including any matter involved in the transition to this charter form of government.
  10. To award contracts submitted to it for approval on bids or otherwise and to determine whether acceptance of any bid or award of any proposed contract will best promote the public interest. In the awarding of contracts, the first consideration shall be given to the best promotion of the public interest.
    Subsection j. Added by Local Law No. 7 1978.
  11. To confirm each appointment of the county executive of heads of every department, division or other administrative unit not administered by another elective official, pursuant to Article III of this Charter.

Subsection k. Added by Local Law No. 3-2006.
Section 202 Amended by Local Law No. 1 1967.

Section 202.1. Qualifications and eligibility of county legislators. At the time of nomination or appointment and throughout the term of office, each county legislator shall be a duly qualified elector of the legislative district from which he or she is elected. A county legislator shall not hold any other salaried elective public office during his or her tenure. Where a vacancy in an appointive county office takes place and the right to fill said vacancy is vested in the county executive, subject to confirmation by the county legislature, or the power of appointment is vested in the county legislature, a person, otherwise qualified, who is a member of the county legislature at the time the vacancy occurs may be appointed to fill the vacancy provided he or she shall have resigned prior to such appointment.
Amended by Local Law No. 7 1971
1971 Local Laws of Cities, Counties, Towns and Villages.
Added by Local Law No. 1 1967
1967 Local Laws of Cities, Counties, Towns and Villages.

Section 202.2. Election and terms of office. County legislators shall first be elected at the general election in the year nineteen hundred sixty-seven and shall assume office on January first, nineteen hundred sixty-eight. All elected county legislators shall hold their respective offices for a term of two years.
Added by Local Law No. 1 1967
1967 Local Laws of Cities, Counties, Towns and Villages.

Section 202.3. Increasing the salaries of county elected officials. The Erie county legislature is hereby prohibited from changing the salary of any county elected official, excluding the district attorney, except in accordance with the following procedure:

  1. Prior to acting upon the citizens salary review commission's biennial report, the county legislature shall hold at least one public hearing to solicit public input on said commission's recommendations.
  2. Notices of all such public hearings shall be published at least once in the official newspaper or newspapers of the county and in such other newspapers as the county legislature may direct. At least five days but not more than ten days shall elapse between the first publication of such notice and the date specified for the hearing.
  3. The county legislature shall have one year from the date said recommendations are submitted to adopt, modify, or reject the recommendations of the citizens salary review commission.
  4. Any salaries approved by the county legislature in excess of those recommended by the citizens salary review commission shall be approved by a vote of at least two thirds of all the members of the county legislature.
  5. The county legislature shall specifically establish the effective date of any adjustments in the salaries of elected county officials. No increase in the salary of an elected official shall be permitted for any fiscal year in which there is an increase in the real property tax levy over the tax levy of the previous fiscal year. Amended by Local Law No. 1 1992.
  6. The county legislature's review of salaries as set forth above shall occur during every even year starting with nineteen hundred eighty six.

Section 202.4 The Legislature shall name an open meetings advisor from among its members to advise the body on compliance with New York State Open Meetings and Freedom of Information laws.
Section 202.4 added by Local Law No. 3-2006.

Amended by Local Law No. 1 1988.
Added by Local Law No. 6 1986.

Section 203. Local laws; definition; power to adopt, amend and repeal; effect on legislative acts. A local law is a law adopted pursuant to this charter within the power to do so granted by the constitution, any act of the legislature or provision of this charter. This term shall not include are solution, ordinance or legalizing act.
The county may adopt, amend and repeal a local law. A local law may relate to the property, affairs or government of the county or any other subject matter of county concern. In the exercise of such power the county may change, superseded or amend any act of the legislature. Such power shall include but not be limited to whatever power is vested in any county in the state of New York or the elective governing body thereof to adopt, amend and repeal local laws granted by any provisions of general laws, special laws, charters, administrative codes, special acts or local laws.

Section 204. Form and procedure. Every local law shall be entitled "A local law" (amending etcetera or otherwise as the case may be). If a local law amends a specific state statute or specific local law, the matter to be eliminated shall be enclosed in brackets or parentheses and the new matter underscored or italicized.

  1. The Legislature shall hold a public hearing 5-days before a local law, that is not certified as to the necessity of its immediate passage, can be put to a vote; acceptable public notice for this type of public hearing includes posting a notice on the county's official website and distribution of the notice to local media outlets.
    Subsection a. Amended by Local Law No. 3-2006.

Except as otherwise provided in this charter the procedure for the adoption of a local law including referendum, mandatory or permissive, shall be as provided in the administrative code and in the absence thereof by applicable law.
Amended by Local Law No. 3-2006.

Section 205. Procedure for adoption of local laws. Every local law adopted by the county legislature shall be certified by the clerk thereof after its adoption by such body and shall be presented to the county executive for approval by him. No local law shall be approved by the county executive until a public hearing thereon has been held before him. This hearing shall be held on public notice of at least five days, such notice to be given by the county executive within ten days after the local law shall have been presented to him, and the hearing shall be held within twenty days after such presentation. If the county executive approves the local law, he or she shall sign it and return it to the clerk of the county legislature. If he or she disapproves it he or she shall return it to the clerk with his or her objections stated in writing, and the clerk shall present the law with such objections to the county legislature at its next regular meeting. Such objections shall be entered in the legislature's record of proceedings. The county legislature within thirty days thereafter may reconsider the local law. If after the reconsideration such local law is repassed by a vote of at least two thirds of the total voting power of the county legislature, it shall be deemed adopted, not withstanding the objections of the county executive. Only one vote shall be had upon such reconsideration. The vote shall be taken by ayes and noes, and the names of the members present and their votes shall be entered in the record of proceedings. If within thirty days after a local law shall have been presented to him the county executive shall neither approve it nor return it to the clerk with his or her objections, the local law shall be deemed to be adopted in like manner as if he or she had signed it. At any time prior to the approval of a local law or to its return by the county executive, the county legislature may recall the same and reconsider its action thereon.
NEW section 205 Added by Local Law No. 8 1974.
Former section 205 REPEALED by Local Law No. 8 1974.

Section 206. Filing and publication of local laws; judicial notice. The filing and publication of local laws shall be provided by section three hundred six of the county law, and the courts shall take judicial notice of all local laws, and of rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto.

Section 207. Referendum. A local law shall be subject to mandatory or permissive referendum when required by this charter, the administrative code or applicable law. Where no mandatory or permissive referendum is so required, the county legislature may nevertheless provide in a local law that a referendum shall be had or that it shall be subject to permissive referendum.

Section 208. Effective date. After adoption, every local law shall become effective when filed in the office of the secretary of state or on such later date as in said local law provided.

Section 209. Ordinances. Ordinances may be adopted by the county legislature subject to veto by the county executive. The procedure shall be the same as herein provided for the adoption of local laws except that an ordinance shall not be subject to referendum, mandatory or permissive. An ordinance may provide for any subject matter of county concern not required to be provided by local law, legalizing act or resolution of the county legislature.
Such ordinance may provide for its enforcement by legal or equitable proceedings in a court of competent jurisdiction, may prescribe that violations thereof shall constitute offenses or misdemeanors and may provide for punishment of violations by civil penalty or by fine and imprisonment or by two or more such penalties or punishments.
Ordinances, and their application, particular subjects and form may be as further provided in the administrative code.

Section 210. Advisory committee on reapportionment. During the first three months of the year following the year in which a federal decennial census is taken, an advisory committee shall be created to make recommendations to the county legislature on whether and how the county legislature should be reapportioned consistent with federal and state law. During the first two months the chairman of the county legislature shall give public notice of the intent to create such an advisory committee and shall invite interested persons and groups to inform the county legislature of their availability to serve on such an advisory committee. The county legislature shall appoint the advisory committee consisting of fifteen members, as follows: the chairman of the county legislature or his or her designee, the majority and minority leaders of the legislature or their designees, the commissioners of the board of elections or their designees, and ten residents of Erie county representing interested community groups, five of whom shall be appointed by the majority leader and five of whom shall be appointed by the minority leader. The chairman of the advisory committee shall be appointed by the chairman of the legislature. The advisory committee shall submit its final report to the county legislature within sixty days of its appointment or within sixty days of the official release of certified federal census data for Erie county, whichever is later. At any time prior to the expiration of this term, the county legislature may extend such term once, for a period not to exceed thirty days.
Amended by Local Law No. 7 1981.

Section 211. Approval of independent auditors. Upon reviewing the results of the audit committee’s evaluation of all audit report and management letter proposals which have been certified by certified public accounting firms and said committee’s recommendations for the award of audit report and management letter contracts, the county legislature shall by a majority vote enact a resolution specifying the name(s) of the certified public accounting firm(s) it has selected to prepare annual audit reports and accompanying management letters for the county of Erie and S.U.N.Y. at Erie Community College.

Section 211 amended by Local Law No. 3-2006.

Amended by Local Law No. 5 1985.

Article 2 was formerly numbered Article II.