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No vote on longer terms for legislators during meeting held remotely via Zoom

There were no speakers at a public hearing Tuesday on the question of whether to increase the terms of Suffolk County legislators from the current two years to four years. 

The meeting was the Legislature’s first to be conducted via the Zoom computer application, with a live audio and video stream of each legislator participating remotely. 

The public was able to connect to the meeting and interact with legislators remotely, although not many did, and many hearings and resolutions on the agenda were not voted on and were tabled for future meetings. 

The proposal to double the length of legislators’ terms was introduced by Legislator Samuel Gonzalez, a Democrat whose district covers Brentwood and Central Islip. 

The proposal requires an amendment to the county charter, which reads: “This Legislature hereby finds and determines that Suffolk County’s elected officials, with the exceptions of County Legislators, all serve a four-year term of office. County Legislators are elected to only a two-year term of office.” 

The amendment “finds and determines that a two-year Legislative term impedes a legislator’s ability to adequately represent his or her constituents, especially when campaigning for re-election requires several months out of his or her second year in office.” 

If approved, it would apply to all legislators beginning with their next term on Jan. 1, 2022.