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CHANGES WOULD INVOLVE CONSOLIDATING DEPARTMENTS

The proposed County Charter includes changes for many departments in county government.

It would merge the Parks and Public Works departments. The director would appoint four deputy directors -- for highways, engineering, parks and buildings and grounds.

The sealer of weights and measures also would be part of this department.

The administrator of rural transportation as well as the directors of youth services, veterans services and senior services, currently the Office of the Aging, all would report to the head of the new Department of Human Services, who would double as social services commissioner.

The county executive, however, would fill the positions.

The new Department of Central Services would include the purchasing office, print shop, Central Data Processing Department and the risk and insurance office.

The department director, who would be selected by the county executive, would appoint three deputies to head the department's three divisions: purchasing, inventories and printing; information technology and telecommunications; and insurance and risk management.

The county attorney would be chosen by the executive, who could fire the appointee at any time.

The Legislature also would be able to discharge the person by a two-thirds vote.

The suggestion that the Legislature be able to hire its own attorney, or that both party caucuses should have their own attorneys, never reached a vote in the Charter Commission.

The county executive -- rather than the Board of Health, as is now the case -- would appoint the public health director.

The executive also would name the Board of Health, which would continue to be in charge of the county sanitary code, as well as the mental health director and Community Mental Health Services Board, an advisory body.

The Tourism Department, been part of the Planning, Development and Tourism Department for several years, would become a separate department again, with its director chosen by the county executive.

The public defender, currently a Legislature-controlled patronage position, would be chosen by the executive and would be subject to discharge by the executive for any reason during the first six months of the three-year term.

The Fire Advisory Board would recommend a director of emergency services, but the appointment would be up to the executive.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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