Yonkers voters have twice
visited the issue of term limits; both times, Yonkersites chose to limit the
maximum number of terms for elected office to be restricted to two terms. The
effort to rescind the two term limitation has been instigated by the focus and
effort of Yonkers City Council President Chuck Lesnick who is completing the
third year of a four year maximum limit to his second and final term. Mr
Lesnick hopes overturning the two-term limit will afford him a lifeline to his
waning political prospects. Which could
happen were term limits rescinded in the City of Yonkers.
The effort to rescind the
two-term limitation has evolved from the rationale that rescinding the two-term
limit is of benefit to Yonkers for falling in line with New York City and
Westchester County whose elected officials are permitted a three-term limit.
Yonkers is proud of its independent demeanor and does not easily accept the lead
of others. Were one to be comforted by standards elsewhere, Yonkers can find
solace with the federal standard that clings to the concept of a two term
Initially, the effort to
rescind the two-term limit was the lone quest initiative of Yonkers City
Council President Lesnick. The effort was initiated with little enthusiasm.
Soon, however, the effort would gain support. Surprisingly, support came from
Mayor Mike Spano. Historically, Mayor Spano stood juxtaposed against extending
term limitations to three terms that continue to be promoted by some circles.
Even so, Yonkers City Hall has engaged as many as ten staff members to collect
signatures to petition for the overturn of the present two-term limit. City
Hall’s conduct transcends their long-standing position to maintain the two-term
limitation. So what’s changed City Hall’s demeanor? The answer is politics.
City Hall believes they will have
gained the acquiescence of Chuck Lesnick by affording Chuck Lesnick a political
lifeline. His hold on the office of the Yonkers City Council President, were
term limits to be rescinded would keep a compliant and weak Chuck Lesnick in
place. Even so, Mr Lesnick has a streak of independence that makes him
potentially dangerous to his being kept in line. Even so, Mayor Spano’s tactic
will afford Mayor Spano a thankful and more compliant Mr Lesnick.
The effort to rescind the
two-term limit has now moved into second gear. The Yonkers Tribune has learned that almost 7,000 petition signatures
have been presented to the Office of the Yonkers City Clerk. Mr Lesnick is said
to believe the signatures presented to the City Clerk must be accepted as
valid, while others suggest the signatures presented can only be validated by the City Clerk’s office. Validation of the
signatures presented to the City Clerk must be divulged as valid or invalid by
September 21, 2012, if the process should get this resolution before the public
as a resolution in time for the November 6, 2012 vote.
Stay tuned for the fight in
the public over whether the signatures of those wanting to rescind the present
two-term limit must be accepted as they are presented or must undergo a
validation process managed by the Yonkers City Clerk. Unfortunately, the
Yonkers City Charter is ambiguous on this issue. Will this issue become another
litigious concern that will need to go before the courts for remedy? Can
Yonkersites afford the drama? Can Yonkersites afford the litigious costs to
salvage the atrophying political prospects of Mr. Lesnick? The only issue
before Yonkersites today is whether Yonkers must be saddled with and
responsible to maintain Mr Lesnick’s employment?