Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Charter Revision Commission has recommendations

From 1010WINS:

The commission appointed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to review the city's constitution and put possible changes on the ballot this year is considering the option of rolling back term limits to two terms.

The panel released a report Friday outlining ideas it wants to examine in the next several weeks. The process includes a series of hearings to gather comment from the public before deciding by early September what issues to put before voters in November.

Besides term limits changes, the report recommends examining the idea of instant runoff voting in New York City primaries. The process, which is done in several other major cities including San Francisco and Minneapolis, lets voters rank their preference of candidates, eliminating the need for costly runoffs.

The panel did not take a position on the idea of nonpartisan elections, which Bloomberg supports and had hoped to get on the ballot. The commission studied the idea but did not recommend putting the question before voters this year.

Term limits is the chief issue that voters expect to be on the ballot this year, the commission said.

Among the possible changes the panel is examining is to roll back the three terms to the two-term limit the city had previously. Another option would be to give citywide officials -- like the mayor, comptroller and public advocate -- two terms while letting City Council members have three.

The panel's report also poses the idea of an amendment that would prohibit the City Council from changing the term-limits law to benefit incumbents voting on the proposal. It was a popular sentiment at the public hearings held by the commission this spring.

"This has already been twice determined by the people's vote," Barbara Glassman, a Queens resident, said at a hearing in April. "The charter should firmly prohibit the overturning of legitimate election results by a governing body or person."

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