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Former Town Board Candidate Asks for Term Limits for Elected Officials [POLL]

Tell us what you think in the comments below. Are you in favor of term limits?

The question of whether or not there should be term limits for Yorktown officials has come up again. 

 Ed Ciffone, who ran as an independent in the 2011 election, asked town board members on Tuesday during a work session to enact a local law that would establish term limits.

Ciffone, president of the United Taxpayers of Yorktown and officer, said he is seeking two 4-year terms for councilmen or equal to eight years in total and three 2-year terms for town supervisor or six years in total.

"Every two years the voters have the chance to change the majority of the board," said Yorktown supervisor Michael Grace, who was opposed to the change. "The voters of Yorktown do a pretty good job of term limits [with their vote]."

Ciffone said if the town board did not pass the local law, members of his group would gather signatures on a petition that would trigger a referendum.

In Yorktown, there has been a new supervisor with each election since 2007. Linda Cooper, who was a supervisor for almost 12 years stepped down in October 2007 before her term was up at the end of the year. She was followed by Don Peters, who was voted out by Susan Siegel in 2009. 

Supervisor Grace defeated Siegel and was elected in 2011, as was councilman Dave Paganelli. Two others, Terrence Murphy and Vishnu Patel, have served on the board for two years. Councilman Nick Bianco has been serving on the board the longest – 16 years. 

During the work session at Town Hall, Yorktown councilman Terrence Murphy asked if a poll could be created on Yorktown-Somers Patch to get the community's opinion on the issue.

We have created the poll below. Please, vote in the poll and tell us what you think in the comments section below.

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William Primavera July 13, 2012 at 10:51 AM
I agree with Supervisor Grace. Elections have served quite well as our term limits mechanism. And, why lose the wealth of experience and dedication of a board member who consistently does a great job?
Active Yorktowner July 13, 2012 at 12:52 PM
I respectfully disagree. In terms of elections, inertia takes effect. Look at one of our current and recent past councilman. Close to 20 years in office. Why, because when they run again, people see the name and just automatically vote. Too many people just think if someone is in for a long time they must be doing a good job. If there were term limits it would force people to look at who they are voting for and make an informed decision. To say that a election every 2 or 4 years is creating a type of term limit is a fallacy. Once again, let the people of Yorktown make these types of decisions, put it to a referendum. To ask the current board to decide is liking asking someone to fire themselves. In this as well as the DPW discussion. Let us, the taxpayers, who pay the salaries decide. Otherwise we are no better than a form of artisocracy or monarchy!!!
NorthCountyHound July 13, 2012 at 03:32 PM
I have a better idea. Any elected offficial convicted of felony corruption while in office gets the death penalty, no appeal no pardon. A few public hangings and you'll attract a better brand of candidates.
Francis T McVetty July 14, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Ed, stop by my house. I will sign that petition. It is about time for term limits all over this country. The incumbent has the distinct advantage when it comes to election time. The founding fathers did NOT have the intention of these "jobs" being permanent. New people, new ideas.
Area Man July 14, 2012 at 09:58 PM
While I agree with term limits I must disagree with why the referred to councilman keeps getting reelected. I don't always see eye to eye with his politics but he has been very responsive to the needs of the citizens in this town. I think the voters recognize this.
David Fritz July 19, 2012 at 06:03 PM
I disagree with term limits. The only councilman remaining from the almost 20 year mark mentioned above is Nick Bianco. When his term is completed, he will have twenty years. That's the same amount as Jim Matarano had. And what did the voters do? They chose not to re-elect him. Let's examine the board over the past two election cycles. Campisi? Gone. Metz? Gone. Murphy, Patel, and Pagnelli are all in their 1st terms. Terms limit? We have them already; they're called elections.
Francis T McVetty July 20, 2012 at 10:36 PM
David, a town councilman is NOT a permanent job. Incumbency only encourages reelection of that person. The incumbent always has the statistical edge over the challenger. The founding fathers never wanted any elected official to have a permanent job. Come to Washington and serve a short while and then return to the REAL world and see what the laws you had help pass, actually do. Elected officials live in an ivory tower, so to speak.Do they really feel the results of their actions. Doesn't look like that to me, how about you?
David Fritz August 15, 2012 at 11:29 AM
Francis, I agree that a town councilman is a not a permanent job; given the track record I mentioned above, it certainly seems that the job is anything but permanent. The 2010 Congressional elections showed that many a congressman lost his or her job because of a reaction to Obamacare (in my view). The two-year cycle makes them accountable to the electorate. Hence, term limits are not necessary. In terms of the town council, why only them? Why not the supervisor? Or the Highway superintendent? It seems to me that there is a not-so-hidden agenda here. My hunch is that, even if term limits were passed, the person who is advocating wouldn't get elected anyway. Finally, if a councilman knew that he or she only could run once or twice, what would be the motivation to do what the people want? It's that the point of term limits? Ironically, terms limits actually create less democracy because the elected officials are not accountable to the electorate. Democracy isn't perfect, but it's the best of the worst. David
Francis T McVetty August 15, 2012 at 04:33 PM
@David Fritz, it seems that you and the founding fathers are at odds when it comes to term limits. Do you NOT agree that an incumbent has the distinct advantage over a challenger? Two four year therm is enough for any politician. One example, the presidency. Do you have any idea when that was done and more importantly WHY?
janet March 20, 2013 at 10:20 PM
To be honest I'm not sure how I feel about the term. What concerns me more is that we have a man on the board who has to much to say & wants to run for our highway's super position. To be totally im very concerned about David Pagnelli being part of anything that concerns our community & the surrounding area. His track record w/ running a business & the way he handled customers makes me scard. Knowing how he was owes ALOT of people money in a ruff estimet of $100,000.00 including back taxes to the state & the IRS!!!!! oh dont forget the back taxes thats owed to the town.. Is this the kind of person we want making any kind of descion for us? I dont think so!

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