Several members of the Utica Common Council have written an editorial explaining the Council vote to extend term limits for City officials.

There has been a lot of inaccurate and misleading information spread in the public arena regarding the Common Council approving a local law to extend term limits.  It’s important the residents are aware of the facts regarding this issue.

The Common Council did not act unilaterally in approving the local law. This legislation was presented to the Council by the residents via a petition process.  According to our City Charter, if petitions containing a sufficient number of signatures are presented, the Council can vote to approve the law.

In this instance, nearly 1,100 residents signed the petition, far exceeding the number required for the legislation to be brought before the Council for consideration.

One of the biggest misconceptions regarding this legislation is that it abolishes term limits, which is not accurate.  Currently, an individual can serve a maximum of eight consecutive years in a respective elected City position.

This legislation simply allows an individual to serve a maximum of twelve consecutive years.  It does not favor any one branch or office in City government as the twelve-year maximum years of service is equal for all elected positions.

The local law doesn’t guarantee anyone will serve more than eight years, it merely gives residents more options.

We agree with the Utica Observer Dispatch’s position, stated in its April 28th editorial, that if enough residents signed the petition, the Council could approve the change as the process would still be governed by the people.

Ultimately, the people will decide who they want to represent them.

Lastly, it’s unfortunate that some of our colleagues on the Council have stated they will no longer work with anyone who has a difference of opinion on this issue; while also resorting to insults, threats and engaging in unprofessional behavior.

We believe Utica is experiencing unprecedented, positive change as a result of collaboration, and when disagreements arise, we strive to disagree respectfully.  We will continue to work with all willing partners to keep Utica moving in the right direction.

The editorial was signed by Council members Maria McNeil, Bill Phillips, David Testa, John Jacon and Jack Lomedico.

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