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Elections could impact Utica's newly extended term limits

Payne Horning
WRVO News File Photo
Utica Common Council

The Utica Common Council voted to extend term limits for some city offices more than a month ago, but the issue is far from settled. The matter is now entangled in this year's local elections.

In a narrow vote, the council extended term limits for the mayor, councilors and city comptroller from eight to 12 years. The move faced some backlash from the community, including claims that it could be illegal. One of the critics is Lou Poccia, a candidate running in the first ward on the Republican, Conservative, Reform and No Hospital Downtown party lines.

"Let’s call it what it is. The mayor has two terms - he wants to have a third term for his own personal reasons,” Poccia said.

Poccia is one of several candidates who have signed a pledge to vote for a referendum on the term limit extensions if they are elected.

Utica Mayor Rob Palmieri who chose not to veto the extension says the process was legal and at the end of the day the people are still in control.

"It doesn’t necessarily mean anyone is going to look for a third term,” Palmieri said. I can’t tell you what I am going to do two years from now. I can’t tell you what is going to happen next year. There is an assembly seat that is open, but I think what does do is the fact that when you have a group in there that they feel is really moving the city forward and - at this point the city is moving in a great direction - they want to be given the opportunity to still continue with the term limits."

Local elections take place on November 7.

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.