Village trustees reluctant to extend their terms

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.

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