|Terms of Office for Elected Officials|
May 2, 2014At the April 28, 2014 Bellport Village Board Meeting, a suggestion was made that the “terms of office” for Village Officials be increased from two years to four. Currently, the Mayor and two Trustees are elected for two year terms and then the following year the remaining two Trustees are up for election, also for two year terms. Each year, the elections seesaw back and forth between the two groups.
This isn’t a new idea and at first glance it makes a lot of sense. No one is born knowing how to be a Mayor or Trustee. To do the job right, it takes a lot of time and commitment. There are courses a newly elected Mayor or Trustee should take and they have to spend a lot of time in Village Hall getting up to speed on the internal workings of the Village. Frankly, it probably takes most of their first two year term to get settled and become productive in their new role and for that reason, extending the terms of office from two years to four makes sense.
After a lot of thought and discussion, I’ve come to the conclusion that even though extending terms of office makes sense, we shouldn’t do it and here’s why.
First, it really isn’t necessary. If someone is doing a good job as Mayor or Trustee, simply re-elect them for a second two year term when they come up for re-election effectively extending their term to the same four year period that’s being suggested. If they are really doing a great job, don’t stop there. Keep re-electing them over and over again until they hit the arbitrary term limit of ten years set forth by the Village Election Codes. Frankly, even those limits make no sense, but that’s an argument for another time.
If someone is doing a good job as Mayor or Trustee, the way you thank them is to give them your vote when they come up for re-election, but what if they aren’t doing a good job? What if someone really wasn’t meant to be Mayor or Trustee and instead of contributing to the health of the Village they are harming the Village? Do you really want to be stuck with them for four years rather than two? Some people were simply never meant to hold office and it’s far better to replace them in two years rather than have to suffer with them for four.
So, if you’d like to have four year terms for Village Officials, simply vote for them when they come up for re-election. If they are not doing a good job, simply replace them with someone else when they come up for re-election. The Village has had two year terms of office for a very, very long time and “if it ain’t broke,” let’s not try to fix it. It really is that simple.
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