Voters will decide legislative election cycle
YATES COUNTY--The Yates County Legislature approved putting a proposed law in front of county residents which, if enacted, would extend county legislature term limits from two years to four years during the Monday, June 8 remote monthly meeting. Approved in a 10-4 vote, the question of whether term limits should be expanded will be on the Nov. 3 general election ballot and can only be implemented if voters approve the measure.
"I don't remember anyone mentioning your problem with this when you were campaigning," said Legislator Jim Multer.
Multer said speaking as a voter and not a legislator, what the board was considering regarding term limits was tantamount to his worst nightmare as an employer.
"We basically (have a bunch of new hires) who would have said anything to get the job; immediately coming and saying they are not happy with the terms of employment," Multer said.
Multer was joined in voting against the measure by Terry Button, Richard Willson and Tim Cutler.
Arguing against the notion that by expanding term limits the board would be promoting continuity, Multer said if a board is doing poorly, "The last thing I want is continuity."
Other legislators mentioned by potentially expanding term limits it would eliminate the need for legislators to interact with their constituents as regularly as they do.
The meeting, which was held remotely, was rife with audio difficulties and echoes that made it difficult to discern who was speaking at times.
Legislator Carlie Chilson, who voted in favor of putting the term question before voters said that by expanding legislators' terms to four years it would allow them to focus more on doing their job instead of campaigning for their job.
"With two-year terms by the time (new legislators) get their feet wet they are already running... again," said Chilson.
Other legislators said the need to keep terms two years is moot as the average service time of legislators during the nearly 50-year history of the legislature has been eight years. It was also brought up that while members of the U.S. House of Representatives serve two-year terms, U.S. Senators have six-year terms.
As it stands every seat on the legislature is voted upon every two years, if the measure passed by the legislature and subsequently passed by voters in November, terms would be four years long with seven seats up for election with a two year cycle.
Multer repeatedly said the system is not broken and does not require any fixing. He called the attempt by other legislators to expand their term inherently self-serving.
"If you do well, odds are you are going to get reelected, (if passed) expanding terms would just make it harder to (get rid of legislators not doing well at their job)," Multer said.
During the meeting Pubic Health Director for Yates County Deb Minor gave an update on the local COVID-19 numbers, saying as of June 8 there had been 43 confirmed cases resulting in seven deaths and 36 people recovered. Roughly 2,000 people in the county have tested negative. As it stands, Yates County, along with the rest of the Finger Lakes region, has entered into Stage 3 of the phased recovery devised by the state starting June 12.