The Yonkers City Clerk‘s Office has rejected the petition of over 5,000 Yonkers voters to put a referendum on the ballot in this November’s election to restore term limits for our elected officials. This was not a surprise. And sadly, our elected officials (to whom the Clerk’s Office reports) continue to disrespect the voters who have spoken loud and clear on this issue.
Obviously, the Mayor and the City Council are afraid of the voters. Term limits represent an existential threat to these officials who desperately want to hang on to power.
On two occasions, by wide margins, the voters of Yonkers approved term limits provisions that limited elected officials to 2 terms in office, or 8 years.
However, the Mayor and the City Council (which the Mayor has substantial influence over) have now twice overridden the will of the people and extended their own terms: In 2018 they unilaterally changed the law, without the consent of the voters, and allowed for a third term, or 12 years in office. In 2022, they did it again, and authorized themselves to run for a fourth term, or 16 years in office. There is nothing to prevent the Mayor and Council from changing the terms again and again.
This has to stop! The actions of these self-serving politicians are an affront to the people of Yonkers and our democratic process.
Public service is a privilege and not a right, and term limits, as approved by the voters, serve as an important check on elected officials and help prevent the abuse of power. This is especially important in Yonkers because the Mayor has effectively neutered the independent oversight that should be provided by the Ethics Board and the Yonkers Inspector General.
The battle over term limits, however, is not over. This November, the voters will have an opportunity to vote for Mayor on a third-party line: Restore Term Limits in Yonkers. Such a vote would send an important message that the people are still in charge.