New Yorkers outraged by the term limits extension of 2008 will have a chance to roll it back this fall after the city's Charter Revision Commission voted Wednesday to put it on the ballot. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
With term limits at the top of the agenda, the city's Charter Revision Commission voted Wednesday on the issues it wants to put before voters this fall.
New Yorkers will be asked whether they want to return to the two-term limit for city lawmakers that had been in place before Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council approved an extension in 2008. But that change would not affect any politicians in office right now.
After a heated debate and three failed votes, the commission split 9-to-6 in favor of exempting current lawmakers from any change to the term limits law. Anthony Crowell, a top aide to Mayor Bloomberg, was among the six who voted against the resolution.
"I truly believe this really moots what we have done here. It moots the concept of giving voters a choice. It puts it so far into the future as to make it meaningless," said Charter Revision Commission Member Anthony Cassino.
The decision means that even if voters approve a return to a two term limit, a second term City Council member could still run for a third term. Also, first term City Councilmembers, like Jumaane Williams, would be eligible to hold office for three consecutive terms.
"I would love an opportunity to run for three terms. Obviously this is the reason I got into what I am doing, is to hopefully do it as long as I can. As long as the voters would allow me," Williams said.
The move could spark a backlash from New Yorkers who decried the term limits extension of 2008. With voter approval though, the City Council won't be able to pull off a repeat of the '08 extension again.
The commission also approved a ballot measure that would prevent the City Council from enacting term limit extensions in the future that would benefit themselves.
"The questions that we're bring forward, we believe, after our due diligence will lead to a better government, a better functioning government," said said Charter Revision Commission Chairman Matthew Goldstein.
The fine tuning of the ballot measures is still to come. At its next meeting on August 23, the commission will decide on the exact wording of questions it puts before voters.