Democracy in the People’s Hands
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
I appointed a Commission to study changes to the City’s Charter,
I suggested they propose amending the line of mayoral succession,
so that the Deputy Mayor would serve as Acting Mayor for a limited
period of time if the Mayor dies while in office or has to leave
office prematurely. The Commission considered it, and ultimately,
they decided to place a different issue on this year’s ballot:
holding a special election in sixty days if there’s a vacancy
in the mayoralty, but leaving the line of succession as it is.
I think it makes a lot of sense. Here’s why:
If something happens to the Mayor, the voters should be able to
choose are placement as quickly as possible. That’s what democracy
is all about. And by requiring a special election to be held sixty
days after a vacancy occurs, the proposed change to the Charter
would put the business of choosing a new Mayor exactly where it
belongs: in the people’s hands.
Currently, if the Mayor dies while in office or leaves prematurely,
the voters may have to wait up to fifteen months until they can
elect a new Mayor. By any standard, fifteen months is a long time.
In a city as fast-paced as ours, it’s a lifetime. With an unelected
Mayor at the helm, government operations could suffer, long-term
planning could come to a standstill, and a climate of uncertainty
would likely prevail. “In an ever-changing world where cities
compete on a daily basis for jobs, tourists and businesses, the
costs of having an unelected Mayor in office for up to fifteen
months could be crippling.
At its core, our democracy works better when we fill vacancies
through elections, rather than through unelected, long-term interim
That’s why the City’s Charter already mandates that vacancies
in every other City office–from the City Council to the
Comptroller–be filled by special elections. That reasoning applies
to the Office of Mayor more than anywhere else, and it’s exactly
what the proposed change to the City’s Charter would accomplish.
When you head into the voting booth on November 5, please don’t
forget that this important proposal–one that puts our City’s future
in your hands–is on the ballot. However you choose to vote, by
weighing in on charter reform, you’ll reinforce what this proposal
is all about: letting the people decide.#
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