HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. – Legislator Stephanie Bontempi (R-18th LD) today announced new legislation that amends Suffolk County's term limit law. Current law limits terms to 12 consecutive years in office, which a court has ruled leaves the door open to abuse of the term limit law. The new law would make it clear that upon reaching a 12-year total in any elected capacity, a person cannot run for that same position. The official can, however, run for any other county office.
"The current law has already been abused, and the voters have made it clear that they are tired of political gamesmanship and desperate attempts to hold onto power," said Bontempi. "As an elected official, you take an oath to work every day to serve your constituents, including knowing when to step aside for new representation. I thank Presiding Officer Kevin McCaffrey and my colleagues in the legislature for their support of this bill.”
"Today, Legislator Bontempi has taken an important step to protect good government and fair elections in Suffolk County," said McCaffrey. "This bill will change the way we govern in Suffolk County."
The measure is the first part of the Republican Majority's "People Before Politics" slate of legislation providing a series of government reforms in Suffolk County.
"This bill affects the terms of County Executive, County Legislator and County Comptroller, regardless of party," said McCaffrey. "There are no political motivations behind this bill. This is responsible and honest government."
"We believe that 12 years in the same position strikes the appropriate balance between having experienced elected officials and those who become beholden to special interest groups,” said Legislator James Mazzarella (R-3rd LD). “As elected officials, we should be encouraging new candidates to enter public service and provide new energy and focus to their constituents. I’m proud to back Legislator Bontempi’s bill. "
Examples of the need for term limits include both state and federal elected officials.
"The political circus in Washington has shown us what happens when people stay in office for too long and become more interested in preserving their office than providing relief and solutions for taxpayers,” said McCaffrey. “The US Congress and Senate leadership has brought us inflation, division, higher taxes and dishonest government. To be blunt, it is time for many of them to go. Maybe they should follow the example the Suffolk County Legislature has set in New York State.”
“Promoting diversity in local government is another motivating factor in the bill,” said Bontempi. "How can we grow as a county if we do not provide opportunities to everyone who wants to run for office? Great things happen when new energy, ideas, and leadership are brought to an elected office."
The bill was introduced in the Ways and Means Committee Meeting on May 12 and will be up for a vote at the next meeting of the entire legislature on May 17.