Term Limits | New NY 23rd

The cornerstone of new ethics reform should be term limits on all State elected officials.–Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss

Gibson (R-NY-19) long ago pledged to serve no more than eight years in the House. Tuesday’s announcement that he won’t run for re-election in 2016 cuts two years off that self-imposed term limit.–Brian Tumulty

Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss writes:

If we enact term limits, we effectively do away with the current broken power structure, and the eventual corruption that inevitably arises from it.

This is an astonishing claim; corruption may be more robust than Chris Moss imagines. Moss continues:

Limiting the number of years that an elected official is allowed to hold office would go a long way in fighting the corrupt culture in Albany. It would also promote fresh ideas constantly being fostered by newly elected officials, encourage qualified candidates to run for office because it would be more affordable, and create higher accountability on legislating and less emphasis on fundraising. It boils down to reducing incumbents’ focus from solely working on their reelection so they could instead focus on voting their beliefs and principles.

Moss’s points:

  • fight corruption
  • fresh ideas
  • qualified candidates
  • more affordable
  • higher accountability
  • less emphasis on fundraising
  • focus on beliefs and principles

These are all dubious claims. Moss offers no proof. In practice, experience suggests that term-limited legislators are likely to concentrate on their next job opportunity. Moss writes:

True ethics reform in Albany will never be attained as long as the voters leave it up to the Legislature to enact it. Many of these Legislators simply have too much to lose.

The NYS legislature may well enact some ethics reform measures. One key issue is outside income for part-time legislators. Ethics reform is certainly possible without term limits. It is unlikely that the NYS legislature would enact term limits. However, Moss suggests no other way.

Before Tom Reed was elected to Congress, he claimed to favor term limits. After he was elected, he said he planned to serve no more than six terms. Since then he has been silent on term limits.

Does Chris Moss favor term limits for the office of Sheriff? He doesn’t address that.

© William Hungerford – March 2015




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