Utica Corporation Counsel releases statement on term limits vote

The City of Utica's Corporation Counsel has finally responded following a second vote on term limits.

Posted: Dec. 27, 2017 12:08 AM
Updated: Dec. 27, 2017 10:19 AM

UTICA - The City of Utica's Corporation Counsel has finally responded following a second vote on term limits.

The first vote passed, which extended term limits for City of Utica positions.

Attorney's for the City says this action is ineffective, saying a local law can only be repealed by another local law.
And that the reconsideration vote is a violation of municipal home rule law.

Corporation counsel says the Utica Common Council Attorney agrees. Anthony Garramone told NewsChannel 2 he informed the Corporation Counsel that this action was a mistake.

Garramone says he can only address this issue once a new council has been sworn in after the new year.

Here are responses from the Common Council...

Utica Common Council President Michael Galime says "Clarifying that the vote may, in fact, be null, that's what we thought all along that that was a possibility. But the fact that the council took the action they did in that reconsideration was in accordance with the rules of order, and they wanted to try and see if the council could drive that through. If it's not the case, then after January 1st I believe the counsel's going to try other things to actually overturn that."

Here are other responses from the Common Council. 

Joe Marino, 4th Ward:
"I don’t understand why this administration would actively pursue nullifying a vote of the Council on a technicality but it is clear that he is now alone in his desire to strip away the will of the people’s vote on term limits for personal gain.This issue isn’t over and early next year will bring a new opportunity to put confidence back in our City’s voter referendums.The vote on term limits belongs to the people alone, not the administration. I look forward to bringing it to them." 

Samantha Colosimo-Testa, 6th Ward: 
"The council followed its charter as to how to reconsider a question, made a motion to vote on a law that already went through the proper channels (lay on then table for seven days, call for a public hearing and approved by the administration). The people were robbed of their right to vote on this law. It started as a petition to referendum and then was adopted by 5 members of the council without an amendment, changing that intent. The argument about when the vote was taken place is another smoke and mirrors by this administration. Whether it was my first day in office or last day in office, I tried to do what was right for the people and vote down that law. The local law that was presented to the common council started as a “grassroots” initiative and was presented and voted on for one purpose and one purpose only, to extend the mayor's term limits. The people signed the petition with the knowledge that it was going to the people for a vote. When that right was taken away we did what we could in our current term to reverse that.

If you look at the petition that was submitted it is a totally different piece that the mayor signed. The petitions intent was for a referendum. The legislation was never changed by the council and it was changed by the administration without an amendment by the council."

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