County Legislators look to take a month off this summer

The Cortland County Legislature. (Photo via Cortland County).

Cortland County legislators voted Tuesday in favor of recommending to cancel committee meetings for the month of July, reprising their brief hiatus from last July.

The measure was put forth by Legislator Kelly Preston (R-LD-10) during Tuesday’s Government Operations Committee meeting.

Preston said that while there may not have been public meetings occurring, she still spent time speaking with constituents.

“Some people didn't think (the break) was going to work. I think it worked fine,” Preston said. “Legislators were still working. I know I was.”

The month-long break wouldn’t preclude legislators from summoning emergency legislature meetings if a pressing situation calls for it, Preston said.

“We have lives,” she added.

Legislator Susan Wilson (D-LD-5) who voted against the measure last year, voted no once again this year, noting she “was voted on by voters to work for all 12 months out of the year.”

“I just think there were some things that came about in the August session last year that we had missed because we didn’t have a July session,” Wilson said. “There were some things that were rushed.”

Legislature Chair Kevin Fitch (R-LD-8) said he had been asked by legislators if the month-long break was going to become a yearly occurrence.

“They have reservations about it, but they did enjoy it,” he said. “It did just allow them to decompress. It also helped out department heads.”

Fitch added the county is in capable hands while legislators are away in July.

“We did find that the county did not fall apart,” he said. “We do have the professionals here to keep it running.”

Wilson said she respected the work of department heads and employees. She added she has full confidence they can run the county.

“I just think it sends a bad message when we give ourselves July off and there are people that are working in the trenches, and they don't get the same amount of consideration,” Wilson said.

The measure will go for final approval at a future legislature meeting.