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Mahoney Proposes Term Limits and 'One Job' Requirement to Onondaga County Elected Officials

John Smith/WAER News

Full-time elected officials can often ride-out their popularity to keep them in office, indefinitely.  That’s why you might not expect a politician now in her third term to propose term-limits.  However, that’s precisely what the Onondaga County Executive is proposing.  She also wants county elected officials to hold one job.

“Since we went to this form of government in the late 60’s, and as a result, we had one County Executive here 28 years and we had one here 20 years.  I’m in my 10th year… but, this will, I think give people an opportunity to be involved in their government.”

The Onondaga County Government Redesign Package specifies that full-time county elected officials aren’t allowed to hold another outside job.  Two consecutive terms for a total of eight years would be the limit.  It would be quite a contrast to history.

“The salary won’t change while they’re here.  We have an eight year term-limit and while you’re here as a full-time employee of Onondaga County Government, like I am, that you will work only for the public that we serve.”  

And that transparency is what she hopes will advance efforts to spread the practice of shared services with local governments and avoid the appearance of cozy relations between county elected officials and businesses.

“It really does have to do with the conversation that’s gone on about sharing services and creating a government that people really want to do business with.  They want to be partners with.  They don’t want to have any questions about what other interests people might have.”

Under the proposal, Mahoney wants elected officials complete two consecutive terms.  The successor’s pay would also be re-set to the starting pay of their predecessor.  The plan still requires approval by the County Legislature by September 8th.  It could then move to a public referendum in November.

John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.