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Mayor committed to strong mayor system, despite controversy

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Albany/HV: Mayor committed to strong mayor system, despite controversy
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Despite recent controversy, the mayor of Monticello will move forward with his effort to create a strong mayor system in the village. Our Eva McKend caught up with Mayor Gordon Jenkins and one of his trustees who does not support the mayor's plan.

MONTICELLO, N.Y. -- Monticello Mayor Gordon Jenkins say that if mayors do a good job, they get a pack on the back, but if they do a bad job, they don't get reelected.

After village manager John Li Greci was fired this past fall, Jenkins has served as acting village manger: a job he wants to keep permanently.

"As a mayor, you do nothing. You are more of a figure head. The manager does the daily operations. Some people think that the mayor runs the village which is absolutely false. The manager does all that. He hires, he fires, he does everything," saod Jenkins.

Come January, the second term mayor will have to walk the streets of Monticello, collecting enough signatures to have a special vote in the spring. This comes on the heels of controversy.

Monticello treasurer Heather Berg recently handed in her resignation after village trustee Carmen Rue demanded answers about what she calls corruption with the handling of village finances.

Berg's resignation was rejected by the mayor. Rue does not support the mayor's move for a strong mayor system at this time.

"The people elect us. We the manager form of government so I want to respect the voters in the village. If he wants this system, it would probably be more fair if tried to put it [on the ballot] in 2016."

The current village manager form of government has been in place in Monticello for over 60 years, but Mayor Jenkins is trying to change that with a March referendum.

"Carmen is just one vote. She’s just one person. She’s a trustee on the board and as you can see, she’s bitter about things," said Jenkins.

But Rue says she's bitter about nothing, just calling attention to issues that must be addressed.

"I do my job. I’ve been bringing the issues to the mayor about the expenses and the lawyer," explained Rue.

Jenkins maintains that there is no corruption in the village and despite what he characterizes as Rue's change of position, he will remain passionate about transforming village government to a mayor strong system.

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