Important Public Hearing on May 8
By Sharon Torres and Kathy Savolt -
The Board of Trustees (BOT) will hold a Public Hearing on May 8th regarding a new law to fundamentally change Village elections. See HERE. The new law proposes to expand the terms of the Board members from two years to four and hold Village elections in even years only. The move to even years will align Village elections with the federal election cycle. The changes will take place only if approved by the voters in November. Other elections, such as County Legislator and County Executive, will still be held in odd years.
This idea was first proposed by four Mamaroneck High School students as a class project for their Original Civics Research and Action (OCRA) class led by teacher Joe Liberti. In 2021, when the students were juniors, they began a series of presentations – first to the BOT and then to numerous community groups – to gather feedback, fine tune their work, and hopefully, gain acceptance for their idea which they claimed would increase voter participation. The students continued their project into their senior year until a majority of the BOT declined to pursue it in March 2022.
Monday’s Public Hearing will therefore be the third time this proposal has come before a BOT. In February 2023, the current BOT proposed a similar change but without the November referendum (a key part of the students’ original proposal). Public outcry persuaded the BOT to promise to put the change before the voters in November 2023. If approved, the voters will see the changes starting with the 2025 election. The trustees elected in 2024 will serve two-year terms in order to avoid all five terms expiring in the same year.
Public Hearings are, by definition, the opportunity for the public to speak on the proposal. There is no time limit for speakers at Public Hearings and all comments become part of the official record.
Note: Kathy Savolt was one of three community mentors to these students.