Is it time to listen to Consensus: Matt's Memo
There is little surprise that the final report by the Consensus committee studying government consolidation was not welcomed by everyone's open arms. The release of the report last week met immediate harsh criticism from Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner. Several days later the leadership of the Onondaga County Legislature stood up and said any government merger will not take place this year.
Despite the clever name for this group of civic leaders consensus has not developed. The idea of saving money with some shared services makes sense to most people, but abolishing governmental entities is a whole other matter. Specifically, getting rid of the City of Syracuse has not been warmly received. I blogged about this possibility seven years ago and four years ago and two years ago. The perspective of Onondaga County taking over Syracuse simply because it is bigger may be precisely the backwards approach.
The city is the core of the community. Despite suburban exodus over the last fifty years, a vital Syracuse should be the leading attraction to a community in need of new residents and retention of younger bright people.
Being open minded to change is critical for the long term future of Central New York. But, more time and care must be taken to prove and sell ideas of a new structure that could lift all for the greater good. Is there a leader who can convince more people that a new approach is needed? It is a tall order. It will likely get heavy discussion in the race for mayor this year. We heard little about it during the Congressional campaign last fall.
Check out some of the past links to blogs exploring the idea of consolidation. Do you think the Consensus committee plan is likely to be implemented? Or will it's fate be similar to many other studies that are completed, but then left on a shelf to gather dust.