Will Cheektowaga Enact Term Limits?

 

Last month, Cheektowaga Councilmember Angela Wozniak (R) put forth a motion to hold a public hearing for a proposed law to establish term limits on all elected officials serving in Cheektowaga. You can view the proposed law here, but here is the meat of it:

No elective public officer of the Town of Cheektowaga shall have more than two (2)
terms of four (4) years each in the same elective office. For purposes of this chapter, “same
elective office” shall mean any and all public offices that are the same as the office that the
elective officer last held. Nothing herein shall compel any existing elected public officer from
continuing to serve in said elective public office until the expiration of his/her term.

At a town board work session held May 1st, Wozniak again brought up the motion for a public hearing:

Recently, a blog post on WNYMedia.net by Andrew Kulyk dismissed the call for term limits as a Republican attack on Councilmember Patricia A. Jaworowicz, who is the longest serving member on the board, serving since 1982. Kulyk writes:

“But it gets worse. Their latest strategy is to single out Jaworowicz, make her appear as feeble minded and incompetent, and embarrass her in the public eye. Regular Town Board followers can clearly see that Jaworowicz is not the same person she used to be. In addition to her family tragedy already mentioned, she is dealing with substantial health issues. It has affected her physically, and her focus mentally. When she won her last re-election, she shared with her colleagues that she would not function on the board with the same zest and vigor as she had in the past. And she beseeched them for their support and help, and all offered that help. Since then she has not missed a Town Board meeting, rarely misses a work session. In fact she shows up on work session days hours early and is prepared to go to work. She handles all this between regular trips to the doctor, to clinics and to chemo sessions.

Yet Wozniak, who three months into her term is still figuring out which way to find the ladies room at Town Hall, has now made it her cause to publicly berate and humiliate Jaworowicz. In this week’s Cheektowaga Bee, (and sorry the entire article is not available online) she calls for term limits, and then goes on with a slew of her personal attacks.” (Read the full blog post here)”

I have reached out to Councilmember Wozniak with a few questions (with relevant hyper-links embedded for referenced items):

Q. Councilmember Wozniak, you recently proposed a resolution to hold public hearings in Cheektowaga on the establishment of term limits for those holding public office in the town. Since your proposal, what has been the feedback you’ve received from Cheektowaga residents?

Wozniak: It has been mixed but far more good than bad. I attached my proposal for you to review. Please notice that this is first a call for a public hearing, not just simply to change the law. Second, this addresses key issues mentioned in the legislative intent such as nepotism, representation by elected officials and the ability for newcomers to get elected (citizen representation). These are issues that people have been coming to me on for months and they are trilled that I am taking action. The bulk of the negative feedback I have received actually began with Andrew’s article which contorts what I’m trying to do. He does not address the issue and instead tries to make it seem like I’m attacking another council member. When Matt from the Bee asked me about Pat, I gave an honest answer regarding her comments that night. In no way was I attacking her with the term limit proposal. Luckily more people recognize the issue here is terms limits, and are not blinded by nonsense like Andrew’s article.

Q.  The Cheektowaga Bee editorial response to your proposal suggests the move as “a ploy used by the political party with the least clout.” As the sole Republican on the seven member town board, do you believe that Cheektowaga governance has been damaged by not having term limits? And if so, how?

Wozniak: Well first, this was not a political move, but simply me doing what I felt was right as an elected official. NYS Comptroller Thomas D’Napoli called upon Cheektowaga to address hiring issues and this was not resolved. This is just one issue – nepotism. The link to the letter is below. It’s not about beliefs its about facts.

http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/audits/swr/2010/ethics/cheektowaga.pdf

Again my reaction to Andrew is that he clearly has deviated from the real issue and instead has attacked me. These are all unfounded accusations. I in no way attacked Pat.

Q. Do you believe Councilmember Jaworowicz is unfit to continue on the board? If so, do you have any other indicators besides her not knowing when she entered office that support your belief, especially in regards to town governance? (NOTE:  The full Bee article is not available online yet to non-subscribers but it did contain a response from Jaworowicz when asked how long she has served on the board: “I don’t know. I keep waiting for someone to tell me.”   When the reporter from the Cheektowaga Bee sought a response regarding this, Wozniak is quoted as : “I don’t know what kind of competence that is, but I don’t feel that proves her to be fit to be on this board.”)

Wozniak: She has made very questionable actions and from that I believe yes.

Q. Should public hearings over the matter be held, what do you hope that the citizens of Cheektowaga consider as the single greatest benefit of term limits?

Wozniak: Absolutely and this goes back to my initial comment that the proposal was for a town hearing.

Thanks to Councilmember Wozniak for her responses.