Black Westchester reported three weeks ago that Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano may be running for a fourth term. Last night the Council voted to add the term limit extension to next week’s agenda paving the way for the mayor of New York’s third largest city to run for re-election.
Yonkers residents filled the City Council chamber to express their opposition or support of the Council voting to extend term limits from three consecutive four-year terms to four consecutive four-year terms, Tuesday, November 15th. The item for the term limit legislation was introduced to be added to the agenda next week. This will be the second term limit extension, before 2018 the Yonkers City Charter limited the mayor and city council to two consecutive four-year terms. Ahead of the 2019 election, the City Council voted to extend term limits and Mayor Mike Spano ran and won the election to serve a third term.
In a 4-2 vote – Republican Majority Leader Mike Breen was not present for the meeting – the council moved the charter amendment to a vote to enact it before the full board next week. On the request of Councilwomen Shanae Williams, the board voted to reconsider that decision, which ultimately failed in a 3-3 tie. Williams who voted yes, tried to have her vote reconsidered after an item introduced off the floor to take the term limits to the people to vote on in 2023 failed. If she had originally voted no, that vote to add the term limit extension to next week’s agenda also would have failed in a 3-3 tie and there would be no vote on the agenda for next week.
Again, the board previously expanded term limits from two to three in 2018 and despite public backlash, Spano ran the next year and received nearly three-quarters of the vote. Spano previously told Black Westchester he had no intention of running for a third term, even if the council extended term limits. He later came back on to discuss his decision to run for a third term.
There was large support in favor and in opposition, but part of the outrage expressed by the residents at Tuesday’s Council meeting was the fact they had voted overwhelmingly in 2001 not to extend the two-term limit established in 1994. Residents said the board was overstepping the will of the people. Now for the second time in four years the City Council is voting on extending term limits without allowing the residents to vote on the issue as it had earlier. First from eight years of service to 12 years and now from 12 years to 16 years.
Kisha Skipper, of the Yonkers NAACP told Black Westchester she feels “16 years is too long,” after the vote Tuesday.
“Sixteen years is far too long,” Skipper shared. “I don’t want to see them extend term limits. I want to see them repeal it back to the original two, four-year terms. Eight years and then give someone else a chance.”
Congressman Jamaal Bowman, the New York Working Families Party and community advocates released statements calling for a public vote on Term Limit extensions in Yonkers.
There were as many supporters as there were opposers present including union members who shouted and held up signs that read ‘four more years,’ during the council meeting.
There will be a public hearing at City Hall next Monday, November 21st at 6:30 p.m for residents to express their approval or opposition for the second term limit extension in four years, with a vote follow the next day, Tuesday, November 22nd.
Stay tune to Black Westchester for more on this developing story!