Political discourse in our society is at an all time high. We are seeing voter participation at rates not seen since the Vietnam War era. All these signs point to an electorate that is increasingly engaged and increasingly vigilant toward elected officials at all levels of government.
Elections are the essential linchpin of our democracy. They keep our democracy transparent, open, and allow voters to vote for new voices in our government. So, why would Brookhaven residents want to extend the terms of office of local town officials, the very elected officials who most closely monitor and maintain the crucial elements of our quality of life from decisions on tax levies to pothole repair.
Next Tuesday, on Election Day, voters in Brookhaven will vote on Proposition One, a proposal which if approved will double the length of terms of the Town Council, Town Supervisor, and Town Highway Superintendent from two (2) years to four (4) years, while tying it to a term limit of three terms, while not specifying whether the terms can be consecutive or non-consecutive.
Why should voters give up the right to frequent elections for hyperlocal elected officials? As a township, we should want more accountability from our local officials and that comes from more frequent, rather than less frequent elections. Moreover, the fact of the matter is Brookhaven Town already has term limits in place that the voters approved in a referendum in 1993 before the move to councilmanic districts in 2002 (See, Article 11 §20-62 of the Brookhaven Town Code, which specifically states “A Councilman may serve up to three four-year terms regardless of whether said terms are served consecutively or nonconsecutively.”)
It is painstakingly clear that this term extension being tied to a term limit proposal is nothing more than a well-orchestrated ruse to trick voters into a term limit proposition that is in fact already on the books in the Town charter from an approved referendum back in 1993.
I have been actively working with an organization known as the “Brookhaven Action Network” to inform voters of this crucial information, but it appears that a Political Action Committee has now been sent into my town to try to undo the work we have spent months doing. This “Vote Yes To Term Limits” is a PAC with a Farmingdale PO BOX and no ties to the community that we all live in.
The only donations listed on the NY Elections website is from another PAC known as “CERM” in the amount of $20,000.00. It is apparent that the robocalls my neighbors have been complaining about is orchestrated by this very PAC in a malevolent attempt to coerce voters to vote for this false dichotomy of “extend terms and get term limits” that they already voted for in 1993.
Brookhaven deserves more choice, not less. I encourage all residents in the Town of Brookhaven to flip your ballot over and Vote No on Proposition One as your neighbor, as your friend, and most importantly, as a resident who believes our local elected officials are enshrined with the duties that are most important to our quality of life that should be held accountable through the electoral process.