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Council member pushes term limits

Cheektowaga Council Member Angela M. Wozniak has been in office for only four months, but she says it's been enough time for her to see that limits are needed for elected town officials.

She is urging the Town Board to pass a local law that would limit elected town officials to a pair of four-year terms, including the supervisor and Council members.

"When you look at what's going on in our town, [it's necessary]," said Wozniak, charging that nepotism is rife in town government, with officials using their entrenched positions to "hand out jobs to their friends and family" and "grow their political war chests."

"By imposing term limits, you really cut a lot of that out," she said. "Many residents have complained they haven't had access to board members, or [board members] just don't care. There's such a strong political hold here in town, they don't feel like they're getting the representation they deserve."

Wozniak -- the first Republican on the board in nearly 20 years and its first GOP woman ever -- admits that her proposal is unlikely to see the light of day or even be open for public debate because none of the other board members seem willing to second her motion to bring it up for discussion.

There's a reason for that, according to Supervisor Mary F. Holtz. She said Wozniak hasn't followed the proper channels. "She presented it to the press, not the board members," Holtz said.

Wozniak disagrees.

She said that at the April 16 Town Board meeting, she made "a formal motion calling for a public hearing to implement the local law for term limits on elected officials." She said she understands that fellow board members only "heard it for the first time" and she "wasn't expecting them to make a decision on the spot without doing their own research."

"Not letting it go to a public hearing, that just says a lot," she said. "The government should be citizen-led. Instead, we're getting politicians in there. They're not listening to what people have to say."

She said she expects further discussion Tuesday evening at a board work session in Town Hall.

Holtz said she is against limiting terms for town officials. "From my point of view, I don't believe in term limits," she said. "The public makes the decisions."