Onondaga County legislators skeptical term limits can pass this year

Jul 10, 2017

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney’s government reform package looks like its going nowhere fast. Mahoney needs county lawmakers to start moving soon on an initiative that includes term limits for legislators and countywide office holders, and clarifies salaries and a ban on outside employment.

Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon says he got his first look at the proposal late last week, and for it to move forward, there needs to be a legislative sponsor. No one has agreed to do that so far. And the Republican says if that happened, he expects the term limit portion of the legislation would lead to some serious, lengthy discussion. McMahon says, personally, he’s leery about the eight-year restriction Mahoney wants.

"I won’t support an eight-year term limit. I’ve served on city council. I’ve seen the pros and cons of that. Is there a discussion for another set of terms that work? Maybe,” said McMahon.

On the other side of the aisle, lawmakers haven’t even seen a copy of the proposal according to Democratic Floor Leader Linda Ervin.

“Since we haven’t seen anything in writing about what she is proposing, I haven’t really formed an opinion. But I would like to talk to her. I have actually scheduled a meeting with her, hopefully soon to find out what her thinking is on this,” Ervin said.

The term limit and salary portions of the package ultimately need to be approved by voters in a November referendum, which means lawmakers would need to take action on the plan by mid-September. Mcmahon is skeptical that deadline can be met.

“The idea that this is going to get done in August and September, highly unlikely.”