The Rockland Supreme Court has upheld Clarkstown’s eight-year term limit law, preventing Supervisor George Hoehmann from running for town supervisor again. Judge Amy Puerto focused her ruling on the premise that the plaintiffs’ claims were time-barred by the statute of limitations.
The lawsuit was filed by Hoehmann, Councilman Don Franchino, and Thomas Foley, a town resident. Hoehmann’s eight-year term prevents him from running again, while Franchino is not term-limited for the 2023 election and can run again.
Judge Puerto denied plaintiffs’ motions for summary judgment and granted the intervenors’ (Councilmember Frank Borelli and Pat Carroll) motion to dismiss the case. Daniel Szalkiewicz, the attorney representing Borelli and Carroll, argued that the statute of limitations to challenge the referendum provisions had expired on January 9, 2015. He also stated that the action would be barred by a longer six-year statute of limitations applicable to actions for declaratory relief.
The court disagreed with the plaintiffs’ argument that New York’s Municipal Home Rule Law prohibits local laws from requiring a supermajority vote from town boards. The judge noted that the statutes merely require a minimum number of votes for passing a local law, and do not impose a bar on a law requiring a majority of the board plus one.
The plaintiffs’ attorney, Robert Spolzino, argued that the term limits law was never legitimately passed because it was voted on without a referendum, but the judge disagreed. The term limits, passed eight years ago by a unanimous vote of the town board, will also affect Town Clerk Justin Sweet, who is running on the Democrat ticket for Town Supervisor.