When Immediately Isn’t Soon Enough

October 7, 2010

On November 2, the New York City electorate will turn once more to cast a vote on term limits. When last we looked, the Charter Commission staff had drafted a grandfather clause that left room for Council legislation to further extend term limits for current incumbents. Then, as quick as you can say blog post, the language of the amendment was revised. The final version allows “persons holding [City office] on the date such amendments take effect” to be eligible for three consecutive terms, pursuant to the 2008 local law extension, and forbids future Council legislation that would alter the term limit for these officeholders. See pp. 9 -10 of the Commission’s Final Report.  If approved by the electorate, the proposed restoration of the two-term limit “shall take effect immediately”. On the same day, voters in City Council district 28 will elect a new Council member to succeed the late Thomas White, Jr. That newly elected Council member will take office “immediately upon qualification.” Will the new member be treated as holding office on November 2 and therefore subject to the three-term limit grandfather clause? Or, will the new member be the first (and, for the time being, only) City elected official covered by the two-term limit that takes effect immediately upon approval by the electorate on the day he or she is elected?

Tag: New York City