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Council rejects term limits; rejects life tenure

By Josh Resnek

Term limits for the mayor, and for city councillors, including a maximum of 8 years for the mayor and something similar for the council, was rejected at Monday’s council meeting.

Also rejected was a request for life tenure for the city clerk.

The preference was to leave both positions term requirements and how they are presently governed by the city charter as it presently is construed.

In other words, the mayor can be mayor forever along with councilors and the city clerk can have his 5 year term renewed every time it is coming to an end.

The debate was professional and calm.

There was nothing personal about it.

“Eight years is a good amount of time for anyone to be mayor,” said Councilor Wayne Matewsky.

Several councilors spoke thoughtfully about the proposed changes, a request which returned to the council after being tabled two weeks ago.

“I don’t like term limits,” said Councilor Fred Capone. “If someone is doing a good job, why ask them to leave?” he argued.

It is a disservice to voters to give no support to someone whose done a good job, he seemed to say.

Councilor Peter Napolitano, becoming the voice of history and reason on the council in recent meetings, said he was against term limits, also. “If you don’t do the job, you don’t get elected,” he said. “You have to produce or you don’t get elected,” he added.

The general sentiment among the council is that the elections every 2 years is the term limit that only the voters wish to set, and by their vote, indeed, issue the final judgment that determines the length of one’s term in office.

On the city clerk life tenure matter, which the council also rejected by a 7-4 vote (at least 8 yeahs were needed to pass the measure), most councilors praised the present city clerk.

“He’s been doing a great job. He’s modernized the office, computerized it, brought the voting office into it and on and on,” said Councilor John Hanlon, a former city clerk who served in the office for several decades.

But in the end, his colleagues decided against sending the measure to the State House for the Legislature to make the required changes in the city’s administrative code to allow for lifetime tenure – and the same occurred for the term limit measure which was introduced by Councilor Mike Marchese.

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