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Top Stories 2016: Limitations set on Town Board terms

Riverhead Town Board

Riverhead residents have been pretty adamant on the question of whether town supervisors should serve for four years instead of two. They say no.

For the third time in the past 11 years, the question of a longer term for the supervisor appeared on the ballot in Riverhead Town in November — and for the third time, residents rejected it by a wide margin. The same proposition also failed in 2005 and 2007.

Supervisor Sean Walter had pushed for the change this time, saying a two-year term means too much time is spent campaigning.

Voters weren’t the only ones looking to limit the amount of time Riverhead Town Board members stayed in office. The board itself voted in April to impose 12-year term limits.

The stated goal of the term limits measure was to “increase the accountability of, and expand participation in, the governance of the town.”

Not everyone agreed, however. Councilman John Dunleavy, who will have to leave office at the end of 2017 as a result of the term limits, felt the law was aimed at him and voted against the 12-year limit. He also submitted an alternate version of the term limit law that would allow any official who had served 12 years as of Dec. 31, 2017, to run for one additional term. The rest of the board rejected it.