Council of Appointments
- Council of Appointments
From 1777 to 1822, there existed in the state of
New Yorka Council of Appointment.
Constitution of New York, 1777, the Council was composed of the governorand four state senators, one from each of the state's senatorial electoral districts. The Council had the power to appoint all state, county and municipal officials within the state of New York. The governor was an ex-officio member of the Council, the four senators were elected for a one-year term by the Assembly. The members could not be re-elected for the following term. This change led to an annual scramble for office.
The Council of Appointment had its origins in the fear of a powerful executive. It provided a strong legislative voice in government appointments. Early troubles, however, arose because of the lack of clarity in the 1777
New York Constitutionover who, exactly, held the power to make appointments. The constitution stated that the governor would have the "casting voice, but no other vote; and with the advice and consent of the said council..." The custom arose that the governor made the nominations, and the Council approved them. But when the legislature had a majority of the opposition, they would elect three or four senators and outvote the governor. Governor John Jay, who had drafted the Constitution, asserted that the Council could not propose appointees, only vote for or against the governor's nominees. So, when the Council voted down all of his nominees, in his opinion, nobody could be appointed. The question was settled at the New York State Constitutional Conventionof 1801 which amended the Constitution giving the right of nomination to the governor and each one of the council members concurrently.
The Council's appointments reached into almost every level of government in the State of New York. For example, all mayors - the
Mayor of New York Cityamong them -, the New York State Comptroller, the Secretary of State of New York, the New York State Attorney General, county district attorneys, sheriffs, judges, surrogates, city clerks and many more were appointed by the Council. The council was abolished by the New York State Constitutional Conventionof 1821, and ceased to exist at the end of the year 1822. At that time, more than fifteen thousand offices were under its control.
Council of Revision
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