Bloomberg’s Third Term

Daniel Katz, Staff Writer, dkatz@albanylaw.edu

     Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently created a big controversy in New York City with his proposal to increase term limits for city offices from two terms to three terms.1 Voters originally approved term limits by an amendment to the City Charter in 1993, and it was ratified again in 1996 when the Council placed a ballot question – seeking to extend the term limits to three terms from two, just like the Council is trying to do now.2 

     The current law states that “the time elected officials can serve in office is limited to not more than eight consecutive years, so that they are ‘citizen representatives’ responsive to the needs of the people and not career politicians.”3 The law also states that elected officials may not serve more than two full consecutive terms in office.4 

     There are three possible ways to amend the New York City Charter. The method that was used to implement term limits was a voter initiated referendum.5 The second, and more usual method, is for the City Council or the mayor to appoint aCharter Revision Commission, which would then place the amended Charter on the ballot for voter approval.6 The third method of amending the City Charter is to have the state legislature amend the Municipal Home Rule Law and supercede the limits as laid out in the Charter.7  Continue reading “Bloomberg’s Third Term”