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>County legislators need to know their duties

A number of individuals have announced interest in running for a County Legislature position. This could be a benefit to the people of Niagara County if they would first contemplate the responsibilities which are inherent in the oath of office: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of New York, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of county legislator, according to the best of my ability."

In order to comply with the "faithfully discharge" requirement, one must be fully knowledgeable of those areas of constitutions that apply. As one of the duties of a county legislator, you are granted the revenue-raising authority for the county. This follows the governmental pattern established in Article 1, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution.

We have mistakenly allowed state law to interfere with our citizens' representational rights. An elected body cannot delegate its legislative revenue authority to an Industrial Development Agency. There are well-established legal, constitutional and judicial precedents, which, if applied, would make clear the inconsistency of the operations of such agencies under the domain of the separation of powers doctrine imposed by the United States Constitution.

The delegation doctrine has not been limited to Congress, and is indeed embodied within New York State jurisprudence. It is well-established that a legislative body, "cannot pass on its law making functions to other bodies. . ." It logically follows that other governmental bodies, including administrative agencies, may not usurp the lawmaking functions of the legislature.

County Legislature Chairman [Clyde L.] Burmaster can claim, "It's America" all he wants, as in The Buffalo News April 8. Such pronouncement does not make it so. Niagara will not be the America many of us were born into until everyone lives the words "and to the Republic for which it stands." Those words state our representational rights of the Constitution.

All of the public turmoil of this or that IDA issue is misdirection. The entire cancer needs to be excised.

Donald G. Hobel

North Tonawanda

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