Term Limits To Return To Eight Years In Utica…For Some
It was in October of 2017 that Utica Mayor Rob Palmieri signed a controversial law extending term limits for elected officials in the City of Utica. That law allowed him to run for a third term.
In 1992 the people of Utica voted with a referendum to limit the time their leaders can serve to 8 years. Mayor Palmieri's signature changed that in an instant.
During a November 18th Common Council meeting Freshman Councilperson Celeste Friend introduced legislation that would restore the term limits to eight years from twelve. Three versions of the legislation were debated at Wednesday night's Common Council meeting, but only one prevailed. That version was not the one introduced by Friend.
Friend told WIBX 'First News with Keeler in the Morning,' "I think we should honor the will of the voters in 1992." She went on to say, "One of the arguments we heard last night [in favor of 12 years] was most of those people who voted for the term limits in 1992 are dead." Friend pointed out that caused "I was alive in 1992" to trend locally on Twitter.
So, what was the outcome? The version of the term limits legislation, that is now tabled, would allow anyone elected after 2017 to keep their term limits at 12 years. Effective 2022, the term limits would be restored to 8 years. That would allow Comptroller Bill Morehouse and Council Members Mark Williamson, Maria McNeil and Jack LoMedico to run once more.
'First News' host Bill Keeler pointed out the lack of care when it comes to optics in the city administration. Why is it that people don't care how things look? Friend says Voter disengagement. She said, "This kind of thing, overriding referendums, tells the voter your will doesn't matter." She vowed to continue to fight for the rights of the people and convince them again their voice does matter.
Friend tells WIBX that the tabled law is expected to pass in two weeks when the Council meets again. This version of the legislation she intends NOT to vote for, unless her vote is needed. She fully anticipates there are enough votes without hers to pass this version. The next Common Council Meeting is slated for Wednesday, December 16th, 2020.