Oct 23, 2012 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
As they informally discussed the possibility of extending terms for trustees and the mayor, village of Liverpool trustees showed no enthusiasm for longer terms themselves. They suggested, however, that doubling the mayor’s term from two to four years might be a good idea. Presently the four trustees and the mayor each serve two-year terms of public service.
Mayor Gary White introduced the topic at the village board’s Oct. 15 meeting.
He noted that congressional candidates serve two-year terms, “and so they spend all their time raising campaign funds and concentrating on getting re-elected.”
As with congressional representatives, new trustees need more time to fully understand their jobs, White said. “It takes time for them to learn how it works, how the budget process works and how to become an effective representative. It doesn’t happen overnight.”
Over the past 15 years or so, White said, most village elections have been uncontested. So conducting the mid-June elections every year is “not necessary,” the mayor said, “especially when there are costs involved.”
The mayor and two trustees run on odd years, while the other two trustees run on even years. The village justice serves a four-year term. Judge Anthony LaValle was elected to a second term this year and is set to run again in 2016.
Trustees Nick Kochan and Jim Rosier each won re-election this year. They each ran unopposed.
“The absence of competition I find troubling,” Kochan said last week. “I would really welcome the opportunity to argue with somebody.” Kochan, who serves as the village’s deputy mayor, is satisfied with a two-year term for trustees but suggested the mayoral term be extended to four years.
At present, the next village mayor’s race is slated for June 2013.
Trustee Dennis Hebert said that because of the cost of village elections — expected to rise when new federal regulations mandate electronic voting machines in the next few years — the June elections might better be paired with the November general election.
“The turnout could be better in the fall,” Hebert said.
In 2011, when White ran unopposed for his second mayoral term, he drew 102 votes. In his initial mayoral campaign in 2009, White beat independent candidate Tom Stack by a vote of 291 to 154.
More than 1,500 registered voters reside in the mile-square village, but less than 70 of them turned out to vote in the 2012 election when Kochan and Rosier each ran without opponents.
Mayor White and the four trustees are all Republicans.
Like his fellow board members, Rosier is disinclined to extend trustee terms, but he favors the idea of moving village elections to November. Trustee Bob Gaetano also likes the trustees’ two-year term. “But the mayor is the captain of the ship,” Gaetano added, “so I think the mayor deserves a four-year term.”
Village Clerk Mary Ellen Sims said that the 2012 election cost the village $570. When the village switches to electronic voting machines — perhaps as early as 2014 — the cost of each election would rise to more than $1,400 with one machine and more than $2,200 if two machines were used, Sims said.
Moving village elections to November could result in significant savings to the village, she said, because then the election would be conducted by the Onondaga County Board of Elections.
Village resident Alice Melvin said at the Oct. 15 meeting that saving money should be a priority. “So moving the election to the fall is probably a good idea,” she said.
White still favors having a separate village election, but he asked Sims to conduct an online straw poll about the term lengths and scheduling of village elections via villageofliverpool.org.
In other business
Liverpool Police Chief Don Morris informed the village board on Oct. 15 that LPD officers issued 78 citations for violations of the state’s vehicle and traffic laws during September. They also wrote 22 warning tickets and made six arrests for driving while intoxicated. Four traffic accidents were investigated and officers made 106 residential checks during the month while investigating a total of 263 complaints.