Share this article

print logo

Hearing set on extending terms

The Town Board will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Wednesday to consider extending the terms of office for the supervisor and tax collector from two to four years.

After gathering public input, if the board adopts a local law changing the terms, the matter will go to a referendum during the Nov. 6 general election.

Last month, Town Councilman Thomas J. Thompson introduced the matter to the board, which unanimously voted to hold a public hearing.

"I believe a two-year term is too short -- you're always running for office," said Thompson. "And so you can't always get as much accomplished as you'd like."

Supervisor Joseph A. Jastrzemski is up for re-election to a second term this November. Tax Collector Julie Godfrey also has announced she will run for a full term. Godfrey was appointed last year to fill the unexpired term of Kathleen Dixon.

"These are the only two elected positions in town [government] that are two-year terms," said Jastrzemski. "All of the rest are four-year terms.

"This doesn't affect how I approach my job," he added, "but I'm in support of it because it gives me more time to work on projects, and I could plan out my budgets for the next three to four years."

Jastrzemski's job at Town Hall is considered part time. He is paid $20,417 a year, which does not include medical benefits. Wilson is a town of about 5,800 residents.

If this matter is put to public vote and residents back it in November, the Wilson town supervisor job remains part time, Jastrzemski said.

Two previous attempts to increase the supervisor's term under two prior supervisors failed at the polls.

Supervisors with two-year terms lead the majority of towns across Niagara County. In addition to Wilson, they include Lockport, Newfane, Royalton, Somerset, Lewiston, Wheatfield and Pendleton.

Supervisors in Cambria, Porter, Hartland and the Town of Niagara serve four-year terms.

A proposal to increase the supervisor's term from two to four years also will appear on the November ballot in Lockport, a town of 20,000 residents.

However, Supervisor Marc R. Smith is considered full time and his annual salary is $42,000, not including medical benefits.

"I'm in the middle of my second year of office, and I'm constantly fundraising, and that detracts from my ability to do my job," said Smith.

"I really believe that four years is an appropriate time frame to see if a person will perform in a job or not," he said. "The public is better served with four-year terms, in my opinion. Our board approved this [referendum] unanimously. We're big believers in letting the voters decide."


There are no comments - be the first to comment