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Term Limits Will Appear on Ballot, Charter Commission Announces

By DNAinfo Staff on July 12, 2010 10:14pm  | Updated on July 13, 2010 5:56am

The Charter Revision Commission met  Monday to discuss term limits, among other proposals, Monday night.
The Charter Revision Commission met Monday to discuss term limits, among other proposals, Monday night.
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DNAinfo/Jill Colvin

By Jill Colvin

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MUNICIPAL DISTRICT — New Yorkers will be voting on term limits again this fall, the chair of the Charter Revision Commission said at a public hearing Monday night.

"This is the one item that the Commission has made a decision [on]," Chair Matthew Goldstein declared. "We will place this on the ballot…for consideration for the voters in 2010."

Goldstein said that voters will likely be presented with a measure asking them whether they would like to return to two-term limits. If voters reject the measure, the three-term limit will stand.

While some Commission members expressed strong support for including a third option — no term limits — Goldstein said it's unlikely that will happen.

"I'm getting the sense that most people want to have term limits," Goldstein told reporters following the hearing.

The Commission is also leaning strongly in favor of adding an amendment to the Charter that would bar the City Council "from enacting an amendment or repeal of any term limits provision that would extend the eligibility for office of any incumbent official."

"Members of the City Council should not be making rules that affect themselves," Goldstein said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council pushed through the current three-term provision to allow Bloomberg to run again in 2009, despite the fact that city voters had already rejected giving a third-term to city officials twice when the issue was put on the ballot.

When it came to non-partisan elections, Commission members had relatively little to say. They plan to discuss the issue at length with advocacy group Citizens Union, which is set to speak at the Commission's next meeting on July 19th.

The Committee also indicated that instant runoff voting — in which voters pick a second preference or "run-off" candidate on the ballot, allowing a majority to be calculated using those rankings — is unlikely to make its way onto the ballot this time around, despite a general consensus that the measure helps to boost voter participation.

"I think everyone believes that IRV is a very interesting concept," Goldstein said, but added that he feared it had not been sufficiently studied to be considered at this time.

Other members of the Commission raised concerns that issues that had received strong support during initial public discussions were missing from the preliminary report.

Carlo Scissura, who is also on the Commission and is Chief of Staff to Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, said the lack of attention given to community boards and borough presidential power was a disgrace.

"To me that's utterly disrespectful," he said.