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Village elective terms extended to 4 years

— Beginning with the March 2012 local elections, village trustees and the village mayor will be elected to four-year terms of office instead of the current two-year terms, with elections to be held biennially in odd-numbered years.

Local Law No. 4 of 2011 — Relating to the Terms of Office of Mayor and Trustees and Biennial Elections, was approved unanimously by the village board of trustees at its Dec. 8 meeting. The change was a reaction partly to the increased election costs due to electronic voting machines and partly to the idea that two-year officials should not sign four-year union contracts and possibly pass the contracts on to a different board.

The approval vote came after the board held a public hearing on the law during which only one resident commented.

That resident, former village trustee Alan Dolmatch, suggested that trustee terms should be four years but mayoral terms should remain two years because voter turnout is higher when a mayor is being elected, especially if the race is contested.

Trustee Marc Angellilo disagreed, stating that a four-year term for mayor would create “stability and consistency” in the position. All three of the other trustees — John Cromp, Mary Sennett and Sue Jones — agreed with that opinion.

“One of my great concerns is to get people involved in community service and willing to run for office, and [low voter turnout] is a travesty,” Sennett said in reference to Dolmatch’s argument. “However, I side with Marc — for the mayor we need the longevity and stability with a four year term.”

After the vote, Village Attorney Michael J. Byrne reminded the board that the law is subject to a 30-day permissive referendum before it can be finalized. If a resident circulated a petition and received the signatures of 20 percent of registered voters (389 names), then the law would have to be approved in a public referendum vote.

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