New York ’s government is led by an exceptionally strong governor with power over hundreds of appointments, and a legislature comprised of a 61-member Senate and 150-member Assembly. Members of both houses are elected for two-year terms, and each house has standing committees concerned with public policy issues. The governor also appoints nonlegislative commissions to investigate such problems as education aid and welfare administration. The state’s finances are overseen by an independently elected state comptroller.
On a local level, New York is divided into 62 counties that are further subdivided into towns. The towns, which function as townships do elsewhere, contain cities and villages, most governed by a mayor and a council. Larger cities such as New York also have a second legislative body, usually called the Board of Estimate.