2010-10-22 / Top Stories

Voters Get Choice On Term Limits, 6 Other Initiatives

By Howard Schwach

On November 2, New York State voters will once again get a chance to vote on term limits for city officials.

Haven’t the voters addressed that issue previously?

Twice, in 1993 and again in 1998, but that was before Mayor Michael Bloomberg convinced City Council members to bypass the voters and change the rules through legislation.

Now that Bloomberg has entered his third term, his hand-picked Charter Commission has recommended to the voters that they approve a two-term limit, except that City Council members elected for the first time in the past election will be allowed the third term that was in effect when they took office.

A recent poll showed that 89 percent of city residents favor the two-term limit.

There are actually two initiatives on the ballot – term limits and everything else.

That everything else initiative includes six issues: disclosure of independent campaign spending; ballot access; conflicts of interest law; city administrative tribunals; city reporting requirements and advisory bodies, and map of facility siting.

According to the city’s Board of Elections, those initiatives include:

Disclosure of Independent Campaign Spending: Requires public disclosure of expenditures made by entities and individuals independent from candidates to influence the outcome of a city election or referendum;

Ballot Access: Generally reduce the number of petition signatures needed by candidates for city elective office to appear on a ballot;

Voter Assistance and Campaign Finance Board: Merge voter assistance functions, including a reconstituted Voter Assistance Advisory Committee, into the Campaign Finance Board, and change when Campaign Finance Board member terms begin;

Conflicts of Interest Law: Require all public servants to receive conflicts of interest training, raise the maximum fine for a public servant who violates the City’s conflicts of interest law, and allow the city to recover any benefits obtained from such violations;

City Administrative Tribunals: Authorize the Mayor to direct the merger of administrative tribunals and adjudications into the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings and permit the Department of Consumer Affairs to adjudicate all violations issued by that department;

City Reporting Requirements and Advisory Bodies: Create a commission to review requirements for reports and advisory bodies and waive the requirements, subject to City Council review, where the commission finds they are not of continuing value: and

Map of Facility Siting: Include in the City’s facilities siting map those transportation and waste management facilities operated by or for governmental entities, or by private entities that provide comparable services.

The ballot questions can be found on the reverse side of the ballot from the candidate listings.

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