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Sunday, September 25, 2022
Home Government Sack 'Em After Six Years; Councilman Calls For Term Limits

Sack ‘Em After Six Years; Councilman Calls For Term Limits

Last Wednesday at the Rye City Council meeting, Councilman Joe Sack ignited vigorous debate after he proposed term limits for members of boards and commissions. Councilman Sack provided the following commentary to MyRye.com as to why he is calling for term limits. What do you think? Leave a comment at the end of this story.

At the City Council meeting on Wednesday, I proposed term limits for members of boards and commissions. We will pick up the discussion again at the next meeting in August. The way I see it, this is a great way to ensure that new blood finds its way onto the boards and commissions. We have a ton of people both young and old with fresh ideas in town, and I want to give everyone an opportunity to participate. Since most people have a full plate with demanding jobs and active family lives, it is sometimes difficult to find volunteers to donate their time. But I have noticed of late a surge in community activism – in mobilizing support for local issues ranging from leaf blowers to stop signs – which I hope we can tap into for service in City government. 

Kitchen_timerCertainly, I recognize the argument that there is a benefit to having people around for continuity and institutional knowledge.  But on balance, I think that is outweighed by having regular turnover to promote responsiveness, access and participation. The term limit would be 2 terms of 3 years (a total of six years) which I think is more than enough chance for anyone to have an impact and hit their stride before passing the torch to the next generation of members. And staggered terms of course work to naturally ease the transition.

For the highly motivated, there is nothing to stop them from instantly moving on to another board right away, thereby constantly introducing diverse and seasoned points of view to the mix.  If there are automatic openings, as there would be under my proposal, I think this will motivate people to get involved, rather than just leave it to the status quo or dislodge an entrenched member of 10 years or more. I greatly admire and respect the residents who unselfishly devote their time, but nobody (including and especially me!) is indispensable.

I remember after 9/11, there was talk of waiving term limits so Rudy Giuliani could stay on, but Mike Bloomberg has done just fine, and with the march of time, his successor will work out too. I look forward to a healthy discussion of this idea, and welcome any feedback or comments either way that people may have.

-Rye City Councilman Joe Sack


  1. I find it amusing that Mr. Sack would be so preoccupied with institutional governance and civic participation given the fact that he arrived at his place on the City Council in a controversial election with historically low turnout. Where was his desire to encourage civic participation then?

  2. While you may find it amusing that there was a low turnout, I don’t. It was very disappointing when only 3 people stepped forward to run for office. I didn’t see you step up, nor did I see anyone else step up to run. No one else approached either the Dems or Reps to be a candidate. No one chose to run as an independent. If you didn’t step forward, you have no right to complain.
    Give credit to the 3 people who did run; don’t criticize them because others chose to sit at home and complain.

  3. I believe your assertion that no one else approached the two parties is incorrect, but we can agree to disagree on that issue. The more important question is why so few people are willing to participate in the process of city governance. Rather than attributing it to lethargy, you might want to explore some of the reasons why otherwise civically oriented citizens in Rye are reluctant to run for City Council, etc. Could one reason be the lack of civil discourse?

  4. Question to Rye Resident
    Council civil discourse??- please be specfic versus being vague. Rye BOE election had 2 candidates running for 2 spots.
    School taxes are 2/3s of your property tax. You should be posting the question why more “civic oriented” did not run for BOE?


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