B'ville approves four-year terms

The Baldwinsville Village Board unanimously approved a change in village trustee and mayor terms from two to four years.

Beginning in 2012, elected village officials will serve a four-year term rather than a two-year term and elections will be held biannually in even years. Officials elected in the 2011 election will serve a three-year term expiring in 2014, at which point the term length will change to four years.

A public hearing regarding the issue was held May 20, at which point there were no comments for or against. However, village resident Edwin Baker submitted a letter to be entered into the minutes voicing his opposition to the change in terms noting that the two-year term has served the village well.

Village officials discussed the pros and cons of the proposal noting that holding annual elections results in low voter turnout and is a waste of time and money because once an elected official feels comfortable in the position, it's time to run again.

"To have to run for public office every two years . . . is a waste of money and time; I think we should go to the four year terms," said Trustee John Salisbury.

Trustee Bruce Stebbins played devil's advocate, asking how many candidates would consider running for four years, as that is a long-term commitment, let alone re-running for another four years.

"I hadn't considered that a four-year term might discourage residents from running -- that's a long term," said Mayor Joe Saraceni. "People who do that really, truly want to serve their community."

Trustee Mark Wilder said four years is a long time to make a commitment, but it is also a way to save money.

"It's important to have people make a long-term commitment," he said.

"Four years is a commitment, but it isn't like two years is a lure," added Trustee Dick Clark noting that past elections haven't been highly contested.

There is a 30-day period for residents to oppose the action. If there is no opposition, then the motion becomes law.

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