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This is Rochester
   A summary of noteworthy news about Greater Rochester government
  More from 2019

Barnhart to replace Muoio

Sept. 19, 2019 -- Monroe County Legislature President Joe Carbone appointed Rachel Barnhart to fill the vacancy in the 21st District seat after the Monroe County Democratic Committee voted unanimously to mak her the replacement for Mark Muoio.

Muoio resigned under pressure after it was disclosed he moved to a home outside of the district.

Barnhart defeated Victor Sanchez in the Democratic primary for the seat in June. Sanchez will remain on the ballot on the Working Families Party line in November, but vowed not to campaign.

Police union seeks to stop referendum

Sept. 9, 2019 -- The Rochester Police Locust Club is suing over a proposed referendum vote that could create a Police Accountability Board in Rochester.

The Locust Club says the referendum, which is set to appear on the November ballot, violates City Charter rules, civil service laws and the New York State Constitution as well as the terms of the union's collective bargaining agreement with the city.

The proposed Police Accountability Board would be staffed by residents of Rochester and would hold disciplinary, subpoena and investigative powers. It could also review police policies and practices.

The lawsuit says the Rochester City Council "acted in excess of their jurisdiction" by approving a citizen board that held powers the city was not authorized to give.

"I think the biggest concern is they don't understand the magnitude of what this encompasses," said Locust Club President Mike Mazzeo, "and this isn't something you're going to implement overnight. And certainly it's very difficult to come up with the right answers when you have a lack of experience -- and you don't listen to the people who have to do the job every day, and their concerns."

Muoio leaving county legislature after residency issue raised

Aug. 30, 2019 -- Monroe County Legislator Mark Muoio is resigning following questions raised about his residency.

Muoio has represented the 21st District on Rochester's east side since 2016, while living on Wisconsin Street. Records show he bought a house on Crosman Terrace in the Upper Monroe neighborhood and 24th District this summer.

Muoio did not seek re-election this year. Instead, he ran for Rochester City Court Judge in June's primary and lost.

Monroe County Republicans called for his resignation and are urging Democrats to recommend the appointment of Rachel Barnhart, who won the Democratic primary for the seat back in June. In a brief letter released later in the day, Muoio informed Legislature President Joe Carbone of his resignation.

Muoio first was elected to the County Legislature in 2015.

New scrutiny of Lake Ontario water levels

Aug. 7, 2019 -- The Government Accountability Office will review the controversial plan set by the international group responsible for regulating Lake Ontario's water levels.

U.S. Congressmen Anthony Brindisi and John Katko announced that the GAO, a nonpartisan group that investigates issues on behalf of Congress, will look into the International Joint Commission's implementation of "Plan 2014." Communities along Lake Ontario have seen substantial flooding in 2017 and 2019 under Plan 2014.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York spent $100 million to fix the damage caused by the 2017 flooding. The state will invest another $300 million in repairing and preventing damage from high water levels on Lake Ontario this year.

"This GAO study is a step in the right direction for the IJC but more needs to be done," Brindisi said. "Homeowners, business owners, and families in Oswego County are fed up with the inaction and lack of foresight from the IJC. Hopefully, this study will provide a clear path to fixing what’s gone wrong with Plan 2014."

State Supreme Court justics rules in favor of RCSD

Aug. 2, 2019 -- Voters will not be asked about the future of city schools come November, after a State Supreme Court justice ruled the referendum illegal.

Justice J. Scott Odorisi agreed with the Rochester City School District's contention that the ballot measure would be advisory, not substantive, and is therefore not permitted. He ruled that the state, and thus the state Legislature, had sole control over education law and public schools, making any changes to the City Charter irrelevant.

Mayor Lovely Warren had sought the referendum as a step toward a temporary state takeover of the district. The city planned to use amendments to the City Charter to place the matter on the ballot. The referendum would not have triggered a takeover, but could have been used to oust the school board and force the state Legislature to act.

School board member Willa Powell took to Facebook to celebrate the ruling: "The City has no more grounds to attack us, and even if they did, it won't do them any good. So, Madam Mayor and Honorable City Council ... shut up and let us do our job!"


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