Huntington Town Board Denies Term Limit Hearing

Huntington Town Board members debate term limits during Tuesday’s meeting.

Huntington Town Board members debate term limits during Tuesday’s meeting.

By Connor Beach

After back-and-forth discussion, a pair of amendments and some confusion during its meeting Tuesday, the Huntington Town Board opted not to schedule a public hearing on proposed term limits for elected officials.

Councilman Eugene Cook made the proposal following public support garnered through a survey on the topic issued earlier this year.  The survey generated around 60 email responses, most of which were in support of term limits.

The resolution to schedule the hearing was seconded by Councilwoman Tracey Edwards “for the purpose of discussion.”

Edwards also put forth an amendment to increase the proposed limit from two, eight-year terms to three, in line with term limits for Suffolk County elected officials. Cook accepted the amendment and also offered another amendment to exempt town clerk and receiver of taxes.

Ultimately, the proposal to schedule a public hearing was defeated, 3-2, by council members Susan Berland and Mark Cuthbertson and Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone.

Berland, Cuthbertson and Petrone each said they did not support the move to exempt the town clerk and receiver of taxes positions from term limits.

Petrone later added that, “with amendments going back and forth, it says basically that we really don’t know what we want to do.”

Both Berland and Cuthbertson said the proposal should go before voters in a referendum.

Cook said after the meeting that he’s disappointed a public hearing wasn’t scheduled, but added that he will continue to advocate for term limits in the future.

“It’s something I’d like to see put through before I leave,” Cook, whose current term runs through 2019, said. “Now it’s for the next board to decide.”