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Legislators propose term limits for county offices

Five Erie County legislators are introducing a term limit proposal they hope will be on the ballot for the November election. The lawmakers claim the proposal is in response to the recent rash of unethical behavior amongst public officials in Albany. The proposed referendum would enforce a limit of six two-year terms for legislators and three four-year terms for the county executive, comptroller, sheriff and district attorney. The five legislators, which includes four Republicans and one Independent, say limiting the terms will keep elected officials focused on serving the public.

The Legislature will hold a public hearing on the proposed law before the full body votes. Legislator Edward Rath says he is confident the proposal will have a better turnout than similar efforts made in 2009.

"We have the majority. We did not have the majority back then and we didn't have the votes to get it done. Now we do, and we are hopeful and confident that this is going to get across the finish line in 2015. And to echo was my colleagues have said, this is, we believe the will of the residents of Erie County," said Rath.

Legislator Kevin Hardwick says he is confident the people of Erie County will vote for the proposal if it is put on the ballot in November. Independent Lynne Dixon and Republican Ted Morton are also co-sponsoring the legislation.

"Could you lose someone who is very, very good and experienced? Certainly, that's possible. But you have to weigh that against the Sheldon Silvers of the world," said Hardwick.

Legislature Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo says he has an issue with proposing any type of term limit law that exempts current officials.