Here is my latest article on current issues
by Steve Levy
Two towns on Long Island are proposing major changes to their charter that the public should know about:
1. Hempstead proposal for special elections
Newly elected Supervisor, Laura Gillen, has proposed a law requiring special elections after a town wide vacancy occurs. Traditionally, the town board would fill the vacancy via their own appointment allowing the appointed members to run as sitting incumbents. This type of governing perpetuates one party rule. Special election should be mandatory within 120 days of the vacancy. Let the people decide who will serve them.
2. Brookhaven proposal on term limits and longer terms
The Brookhaven town board will be considering a resolution to limit time served on the board to three terms. Our Center supports the concept of term limits. There is a caveat, however, in that the term of the Supervisor would be extended from 2 to 4 years.Conventionally, it’s the holder of the executive position, such as the supervisor, that is provided with the longer term for the sake of continuity. For example, at the county level, the county executive is elected every 4 years, while legislators are elected every other year. Yet, presently in Brookhaven, it’s the council members who run every 4 years, while the supervisor runs every 2 years. While it’s worthy giving an administrator a longer term for more continuity, it’s actually the council people who should be running every 2 years to mirror the practice presently employed on the council level.
Should Employees get 3 months of paid leave to grieve for loss of grandparent?
A bill presently awaiting signature from Governor Cuomo, would force New York businesses to provide to 3 months of paid leave for any employee who suffers a death in the family, including that of a grandparent
This goes far beyond the paid family leave law, which provides paid time off for maternity or to care for a sick relative. Those situations are much different than dealing with the loss of an elderly grandparent.
There must also be some consideration given to our already struggling business owners, who are trying to maintain continuity at their workplace.
While it is true that the payment for the employee comes from wage deductions of all the employees, the company is nevertheless impacted financially, due to the loss of service provided by that employee. Who pays for the temporary assistance to replace that absent worker, even if one assumes that a temp can actually fill his or her shoes? It is disturbing that this bill, regarding family loss, actually passed both houses of the legislature. Will the Governor sign or veto it? It all depends on what kind of feedback he gets from the public.
Will the Tax Cap Expire?
Our tax cap is under assault. First, it expires next year and will need an affirmative act of the state legislature to keep it in place. No guarantee, given the possible shift of senate leadership to city-centric legislators. Meanwhile, schools continue to issue bonds of up to $100 million, in part, because the interest payments are exempt from the cap. Finally, in Suffolk, a 5% increase in police taxes is claimed to be within the 2% cap because money allegedly improperly raised in the Southwest sewer district (according to a pending lawsuit) is being slowly returned to those ratepayers. The state needs to tighten these loopholes.
Steve Levy is President of Common Sense Strategies, a political consulting firm. He served as Suffolk County Executive, as a NYS Assemblyman, and host of "The Steve Levy Radio Show."