FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 3, 2008
MAYOR BLOOMBERG SIGNS LEGISLATION EXTENDING TERM LIMITS FOR ELECTED OFFICIALS
Remarks by Mayor Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Laws
"The final bill before me today is Introductory Number 845-A, co-sponsored by Council Member's Felder, Comrie, Koppell, Recchia and Stewart, at the request of the Administration. Introductory Number 845-A would amend the City Charter's provisions regarding term limits by changing the number of full consecutive terms of office that may be served by a City elected official from two to three terms.
"The bill has generated considerable public debate, which is good, and I understand the process objections made by its opponents. Some have pushed for a special election next year. But given the time requirements of a Charter Revision Commission, followed by federal review under the Voting Rights Act, followed, in all likelihood, by lengthy court challenges that could drag through the spring and even into ballot petitioning season, candidates could be left in limbo well into 2009 - making it extremely difficult to organize campaigns and solicit support.
"The fiscal challenges we face in addressing the economic downturn are daunting. The great progress we have made in recent years is now threatened by turmoil in the financial markets that has carried echoes of the 1930s. This is the backdrop for the term limits debate. Whereas a year ago, we could think of term limits in theoretical or ideological terms, crisis has a way of forcing us to put pragmatism first.
"The City Charter gives the City Council the authority to amend the term limits law, and so the question for Council members - and for me - was this: Is it in the best interests of the City to extend term limits from two terms to three, giving voters more choices next November, a time when we could be in a full-fledged recession?
"I believe the answer is yes. And after considerable debate and two days of public hearings, the majority of the City Council agreed - choosing substance over process, and pragmatism over ideology. Ultimately, the voters will have the chance to decide whether they agree. And that's important to remember: the people will render the final verdict on this bill, because it empowers them to decide who they want in office."
Stu Loeser/Evelyn Erskine (212) 788-2958