Amityville officials delay discussion on term limits

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Amityville trustees closed a tense public hearing on a bill establishing term limits for village officials without taking action, leaving open the question of whether the municipality's judge will have to vacate office at the end of her third term in 2017.

Trustees could vote on the bill at their next meeting, in three weeks. Alternatively, the bill could be dropped, or revised and presented for another public hearing. Trustees Dennis Siry and Kevin Smith suggested putting the matter to voters in a referendum in the March election.

In a sometimes raucous meeting Monday night, village Justice Debra Urbano-DiSalvo accused trustees of breaking state law by presenting the resolution.

Trustee Nick LaLota accused her of hanging up on him when he asked her to give up her village health insurance, as some trustees have done. Planning board member Peter Himmelmann, a mayoral ally, suggested the judge had packed the meeting of more than 50 people with out-of-town supporters.

Urbano-DiSalvo has said that only the State Legislature has the authority to set terms for her office, and she has mustered opinions from the New York Conference of Mayors and two magistrates associations that support her position.

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Some of those groups would back her in a lawsuit if the village persisted, she suggested. "It seems the Titanic is sinking, yet the mayor and his team are focused on rearranging deck chairs," Urbano-DiSalvo said.

Village attorney Bruce Kennedy said the bill -- which would limit trustees to two consecutive four-year terms and the justice to three consecutive four-year terms -- was based partly on a section of the state constitution giving the village the right to regulate terms of local officers.

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