Yonkers term limit extension can stand after state's top court declines to hear the case

The non-partisan group of residents who filed the suit claiming the law violated the city charter needed to seek the court's permission to hear the case after a lower Appellate Division court unanimously upheld the law.

Jonathan Gordon

Jul 25, 2023, 12:10 AM

Updated 307 days ago

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The New York State Court of Appeals will not hear a challenge to Yonkers' term limit extension, according to a memo released on Monday.
The non-partisan group of residents who filed the suit claiming the law violated the city charter needed to seek the court's permission to hear the case after a lower Appellate Division court unanimously upheld the law.
A state Supreme Court judge also sided against them.
Mayors and city councilmembers in New York's third largest city can now run for four four-year terms unless the City Council eventually approves legislation changing the law or if a referendum is successfully put on the ballot to go before voters.
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano will attempt to win his fourth term when he faces off against Republican City Councilman Anthony Merante in November.
“Today’s ruling is consistent with all the other court decisions upholding the City Council's right to set terms limits. As such, I look forward to meeting with voters in the coming months and discuss how we can keep improving our city together," wrote Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano in a statement to News 12.
Merante, who successfully petitioned to run on the independent "Restore Term Limits" line in addition to the Republican line has made term limits the centerpiece of his mayoral campaign against Spano.
""This vote belongs in the people's hands, not in the city council or in the mayor's hands," said Merante.
On July 10, Merante delivered a petition with more than 5,000 signatures to the city clerk's office seeking to put a referendum on the ballot this November rolling term limits back to two.
"I've done my part," added Merante. "I've shown the people of the city of Yonkers that term limits are my issue."
The clerk's office has sent the petition to a third party to ensure it has the 4,723 valid signatures necessary to survive the review.
Democratic Deputy Clerk Nerissa Pena and Republican Deputy Clerk Michael Ramondelli will then review that report and ultimately move it to the City Council if it has the appropriate number of signatures. The council will then vote on whether put the question on the Nov. 7 ballot or reject it altogether.
Merante isn't confident there will be enough time to get the referendum approved through the City Council for this year's general election. He promises to make it his first priority if elected mayor in November.
The deadline for the Westchester Board of Elections to receive an approved referendum is Aug. 7. Even if approved, the referendum will not affect any candidates running this year, including Spano.


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