Onondaga County lawmakers vote to override Mahoney veto on outside counsel

Jun 5, 2018

Updated at 8 p.m. Tuesday

County lawmakers voted 17-0 to override County Executive Joanie Mahoney's veto of a local law that would allow the county legislature chairman to consult outside counsel if there is a conflict between lawmakers and the county executive. 

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Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney is hoping the third time is a charm in a back and forth with county lawmakers over letting legislators get their own legal counsel.

County lawmakers say they want the power to get advice from an attorney that doesn’t work for the county law department, if they believe there’s a conflict of interest involved. 

Twice they’ve passed legislation to that point and twice Mahoney has vetoed it,

"I vetoed the first one, they did not take up the veto. Instead they passed a new resolution. And I vetoed that one. And I’m hoping the third time will be a charm,” said Mahoney.

Mahoney said the second resolution was too broad and would force the county to hold a referendum to change the county charter. Overriding that veto is on today’s legislature agenda, and she’s asking lawmakers to let that veto stand, while both sides hammer out a third version.

“We’re trying to agree on a resolution that says what the Chairman’s goal was. Which is recognizing that sometimes there are conflicts, and that he as chairman of the legislature can pick a lawyer and direct the work of that lawyer,” said Mahoney. “But it keeps the people’s attorney at the table in terms of the form and legality of the resolutions.”

Mahoney says because the county attorney’s office wasn’t involved in drafting earlier resolutions, it illustrates why those lawyers need to be a part of the legislative process. She believes she has enough support from lawmakers to let her veto stand, and take up a compromise resolution in July.