Riverhead Town Board approves term limits; Dunleavy now ‘termed out’

Riverhead Town Board members will now be subject to 12-year term limits under a new law adopted Tuesday. 

A second proposal to extend the town supervisor’s term from two years to four will also be placed on the ballot in November following unanimous approval from the board. A similar referendum to increase the supervisor’s term was rejected by a narrow margin in 2007.

The stated intent of the term-limit law is to “increase the accountability of, and expand participation in,  the governance of the Town of Riverhead by limiting the number of terms of office for the Supervisor and Town Council,” according to the resolution approved Tuesday.

The law prevents Councilman John Dunleavy, the only council member to vote against the resolution, from seeking re-election in 2017. Mr. Dunleavy, who was first elected to the board in 2005, attempted to circumvent the immediate term limit by proposing a separate measure that would have allowed him to serve through 2019, but it was rejected by his four colleagues on the board.

The law states that members cannot serve 12 consecutive years on the board, meaning they could take a break after serving their 12 years and then run for office once again.

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