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FEB 17 - FEB 24, 2015

Proposed Erie County Law Would Set Term Limits

By Tony Farina

February 17, 2015

Legislator Joe Lorigo opposes term limits that would exempt current officials.

Erie County lawmakers are expected to hold a public hearing and take a vote later this year on a proposed local law that would set terms limits of 12 years of consecutive service on elected officials.

"I think the introduction of the local law is a good start and we will start the process of getting it on the ballot [for Nov. 15]," said cosponsor Lynne Dixon (I. - Hamburg)." "Nobody should choose elected office as a way of life, holding office for decades. It should be about public service."

Dixon is cosponsoring the proposed local law along with Republicans John Mills (chairman), Kevin Hardwick, Ted Morton and Ed Rath. Those five lawmakers, along with Minority Leader Joe Lorigo, make up the legislature's 6 – 5 majority. But Lorigo is not cosponsoring the measure, saying he opposes term limits that would exempt current officials.

Former Amherst town supervisor Dan Ward, a Democrat, wrote a letter on Monday (Feb. 16) to county lawmakers expressing his support for term limits, saying as a proponent of the current term limits in Amherst "I can say our local law has worked well…"

But Ward appears to side with Lorigo, writing "insofar as this is major electoral reform, it is probably too much to ask current members of your Honorable Body to make it affect themselves, or somehow make it retroactive in application. Make it prospective, and secure the votes necessary for adoption. There is little altruism in politics." Ward favors 10-year limits for lawmakers and eight years (or two terms) for the other officeholders.

The proposed Erie County law would set term limits for legislators to 12 consecutive years (six terms) and would limit the county executive, sheriff, and comptroller to three terms of four years.

Under the Erie County Charter, the legislature must hold a public hearing before taking a vote, and if approved it would be go on the ballot in November for the public to make its wishes known on limiting elected officials to 12 years in office.

Erie County Legislator Lynn Dixon, sponsoring term limits for Erie County elected officials, said, "Nobody should choose elected office as a way of life, holding office for decades. It should be about public service."






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©2014 The Niagara Falls Reporter Inc.
POB 3083, Niagara Falls, N.Y. 14304
Phone: (716) 284-5595

Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
Managing Editor: Dr. Chitra Selvaraj
Senior Editor: Tony Farina