Clarkstown Taxpayers President Guy Gervasi delivered the organization’s petition with 3,450 signatures seeking for the town supervisor and town council positions to the Town Clerk’s office on Tuesday.
The organization is seeking to establish term limits that would restrict the town supervisor and town board members taking office on January 1, 2012 to eight consecutive years in office. Its members presented the petitions at a town board meeting in mid August and asked the town board to place a public referendum on the ballot for November or pass a resolution setting term limits.
At that time, Clarkstown Town Attorney Amy Mele and an independent legal expert issued opinions that the term limits proposal could not be put on the November ballot as a referendum. Mele said state law did not allow the board to place the issue on the ballot. Robert Spolzino, an attorney with Wilson Elser Moskowtiz Edelman & Dicker LLP of White Plains, agreed and said Clarkstown officials did not have the authority to put the term limits question on the ballot as a referendum but did say the town board could vote on term limits.
Mele received the petition from Town Clerk Justin Sweet on Wednesday who asked for her advice on whether it should be sent to the New York State Board of Elections as requested by the Clarkstown Taxpayers. She said she expects her legal position will remain the same and she will not recommend the petition be forwarded to the state board.
“I don’t anticipate my advice will change on that matter,” she said. “I will send my opinion to the town clerk and the town clerk will advise them (the Clarkstown Taxpayers).”
Gervasi said the Clarkstown Taxpayers’ steering committee will meet on September 12 to review its options.
“However, it should be remembered that at this point, it doesn’t really matter whether this petition is legal or not, what really matters and should be remembered by all town board members, but especially those up for re-election, is that the vast majority of Clarkstown voters want Term Limits now and expect this Town Board to do something about this, which they can easily and legally do by passing an eight-year Term Limit resolution imposing Term Limits on themselves,” said Gervasi.
At the August Town Board meeting, Councilman Frank Borelli (R-New City) said the idea had merit and suggested the town board discuss different approaches at an upcoming meeting. Board Member George Hoehmann (R-Nanuet) agreed with Borelli’s recommendation.