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Village board looks to change terms of electives offices

law proposed to increase terms from two to four years

— The village board of trustees will hold a public hearing on Thursday, Dec. 8, to consider extending the terms of office for the mayor and the trustees from two years to four years.

The proposed change is 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.

“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,” said Trustee Marc Angellilo. “Two years goes by so quickly.”

Trustee Sue Jones, agreed, and said a change to four-year terms would also bring the village in sync with the terms of town officers.

Mayor Marty Hubbard said he had investigated how other villages across the state number their terms, and he found that it is about a 50-50 split between two-year and four-year terms. “So we’re certainly not in unchartered waters here,” he said.

Village Attorney Michael J. Byrne suggested the proposed law include a provision to hold elections biennially in odd-numbers years, which would “have merit” because then village elections would not compete with state or federal elections.

If enacted, Local Law No. 4 of 2011 — Relating to the Terms of Office of Mayor and Trustees and Biennial Elections, would not affect any incumbent officers’ terms, only those officials elected after the law would take effect.

If the law was passed before the March 20, 2012 elections, then the board seats currently held by Trustees Sue Jones and Marc Angellilo, whose terms are up in 2012, would be elected for four years. Mayor Hubbard and Trustees John Cromp and Mary Sennett, who were elected to two-year terms in 2011, would still have to run for reelection in 2013.

A copy of the proposed law soon will be available for review on the village website.

Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at editor@skaneatelespress.com.

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