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Four more years?

Editorial

It is a dictum of American politics that barely does one election end before the next begins. While our next local election — two seats for village trustee — is only four months off in March 2012, so far the campaigning has not begun. However, important election-related actions occurred at the Nov. 10 village board meeting that deserve recognition.

As we report in this issue, the trustees voted unanimously to draft a new local law that would extend the current two-year elective terms of office for mayor and trustees into four-year terms, beginning, if passed, with the next election.

A public hearing on proposed Local Law No. 4 is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 8.

The reasons for this attempted change are to help reduce the increasing costs of electronic elections and to avoid passing on four-year union or other contracts to future board members.

Trustee Marc Angellilo also made an important point, saying, “As someone who’s been on the board for five years now, I think you need more than two years to really be effective on this job.”

We believe the proposed change makes sense, for all the above-named reasons. In politics, as in life, two years is not really a long time. The job of a village trustee or mayor is more time-consuming and complicated than most people realize, and it does take time to get comfortable and thoroughly understand all the issues involved.

Also, while local politics is not the hard-charging, never-ending election cycle of state and national politics, officials who decide to run for reelection do need to spend time on their campaigns. Campaigning takes away from governing, to a certain degree, and to hold off the distractions of a campaign every two years will benefit the positions involved.

But this should not be a simple or rubber-stamp decision, and we encourage all village residents to think about the benefits and detriments of such a change, and to attend the Dec. 8 public hearing on the proposed law to hear the details of it, arguments for and against it and, hopefully, add something to the conversation.

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