Should There Be Longer Term Limits?

Glen Cove City Hall. (Photo by Jennifer Corr)

The topic of having longer term limits for Glen Cove City Council members has been coming up during meetings.
Glen Cove City Council candidate John Zozzaro approached the podium during a meeting on Oct. 24, the last meeting before the election on Nov. 7, to discuss the idea of longer term limits.
Glen Cove Mayor Pam Panzenbeck said she and the City Council will be looking into amending the term limits, however, she does not feel comfortable voting on a policy that would benefit her.
“I feel in a lot of ways that to extend term limtis really benefits a lot of us up here,” Panzenbeck said. “When you start talking about changing the terms of the mayor, the terms of the charter and things with the council, and people start talking about raising the salary of the mayor and the salary of the council, I’m uncomfortable with things like that. I don’t like to vote on things that specifically would be beneficial to me. We have not said we are not going to look into term limits.”
According to the City of Glen Cove Charter, each officer, including the mayor, can be elected for the term of two years, including the first day of January succeeding his or her election and until the election and qualification of his or her successor.
Councilman Jack Mancusi said he’d be open to hearing the case for a four-year mayoral term, but he has reservations about a four-year council term.
“The reason I have that opinion is mostly from the public and my input that I get from the public,” Mancusi said. “It’s my opinion that the public does not favor increasing the terms. The phrase ‘term limits’ is getting thrown around tonight. What people are really talking about is ‘term extensions.’ Extending the terms. Right now we all have two-years terms. I’ve been on the record publicly before, and I’ll say it again, I’m open to the possibility of increasing the mayoral term to four years. I am against increasing the city council. I believe the city council should stay at two… However, if I am convinced that the electorate is overwhelmingly, or even substantially, is in favor of increasing the terms, my job is to represent the public, not to press my will into everybody else.”
Panzenbeck said the council will create a committee or commission to study the issue of term limits.
Glen Cove City Council candidate Theresa Pergola asked when there was going to be a public hearing on term limits.
“We haven’t sat down to formally plan anything, but we will,” Panzenbeck said. “We have to decide how we want to go about it, and I need my attorney to advise me how we go about it. Do we form a committee? Do we form a commission? It’s not so simple, but maybe we’ll start out with an open meeting and get ideas as to what people will like.”
Pergola pressed Panzenbeck on the issue, asking her if a hearing is going to be coming up soon.
“I know Mr. Mancusi made his opinion clear, but he also said he has to do what the public wants, so in order to know what the public wants, you have to have a public hearing, and that’s been tabled,” Pergola said. “You said you were going to look into it, but it’s been several months.”
Panzenbeck then explained that the issue wasn’t tabled, but the council just hasn’t looked into it yet.
“Look, I realize everybody here is running for office and you all want to make your mark on something,” Panzenbeck said. “We have a lot of work going on, so we just don’t just sit here and do nothing and meet here once a week.”
Pergola explained that longer terms are important, because more work could get done. In a term of only two years, much of it is spent campaigning for an election that takes place every two years.
“I sort of resent that,” Panzenbeck said. “I do not spend a lot of time campaigning. I am in the office from early in the morning until late at night.”
Pergola made clear that she wasn’t accusing Panzenbeck of not working, rather that she is also campaigning.
“You’re not campaigning right now, all of you?” Pergola addressed the mayor and the council.
Pergola added, when asked by Mancusi, that the short term limits forces council and the mayor to work on the previous administration’s budget in the first year.
“And then the next year you start getting petitions signed and everything in February and you’re campaigning through Election Day,” Pergola said.

Also at the Meeting:
The topic of The View Grill was also brought up at the Oct. 24 meeting.
Jeanine DiMenna, the beloved owner of The View Grill at the Glen Cove Municipal Golf Course, has received much community support after it was announced that the City of Glen Cove released an RFP (Request for Proposal) as DiMenna’s term is set to expire in February.
“The present operator’s term expires at the end of February and municipal law requires an RFP be issued,” Panzenbeck had written in a statement. “The current operator as well as any new applicants are encouraged to respond with their ideas to enhance this scenic venue. The Mayor and City Council will select a committee of city residents to review the responses and to provide evaluations for council consideration. A final award will then be determined by a vote of the Mayor and City Council. The RFP invites proposers to submit their ideas for renovating the existing facility known as The View while continuing restaurant service and improving catering capabilities.”
Resident Mary Grace Cipriano asked for an update on the dates of meetings and interviews as part of the RFP process.
“Jeanine’s employees are waiting to hear and they need to know because they need to be able to look for other employment if their employment at The View is not available to them,” Cipriano said. “Jeanine and Fred [DiMenna] can’t book any parties for the next year. My husband is going to be 50 next year and I want to have his party at The View and he’s not the only one,,, Is the vote going to be public? Is the public going to have a chance to hear you all vote on this? Is the vote going to be live streamed? Is it going to be in pre-council? Is it going to be in regular council?”
Panzenbeck said that the council does not vote during pre-council, only during council meetings. “There was an issue with one of the proposals, more information was needed,” Panzenbeck said. “We allowed that person to provide more information… We are trying to be more than fair.”
Panzenbeck said the vote for the future of The View Grill will take place at a council meeting after Election Day.

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