Term limits could be coming for Erie County politicians

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Term limits could be coming for politicians across Erie County.

A new bill introduced by Erie County Democratic legislator John Bargnesi (Tonawandas, Grand Island) would limit any new office-holder by 2030 to three terms. The bill would cover legislatures, County Executive, Comptroller, Sheriff, Clerk and District Attorney.

“I did this in Tonawanda; the person I beat in Tonawanda was there, I think, 30 years, but I did it to myself, and technically I’m doing it to myself again,” Bargnesi said. “We need new people and new opportunities.”

There has been a precedent for local politicians capping themselves for how long their terms would be.

Earlier this year, former Erie County District Attorney John Flynn stepped down from his post during his second term, citing his belief in term limits and said that he made it clear from when he was first elected in 2016 that he would only serve two terms.

In addition, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said last year that he would not run again after his fourth term was up shortly before he was re-elected for his fourth term last November. He said he had initially only planned to serve three terms, but the pandemic and ongoing work on the new Bills stadium changed his mind.

The new bill would also change when county officials are elected, which would change elections to even-numbered years. Bargnesi said that the changes in election years are required under a bill passed by the state and signed by Governor Kathy Hochul last year. Some elected officials will serve three-year terms as part of that transition.

The bill is expected to be on the agenda at the next Erie County Legislature meeting.

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Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.

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