- The Washington Times - Friday, September 28, 2001

Two of the three candidates for mayor of New York say they support a plan that would allow incumbent Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani to remain in office three months beyond his Dec. 31 scheduled termination date to help the city recover from the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Public advocate Mark Green, a liberal Democrat and longtime foe of Mr. Giuliani, and Michael Bloomberg, who won the Republican nomination for mayor in Tuesday's primary, both agreed to go along with Mr. Giuliani's proposal, which would postpone the new mayor's inauguration until April.

Mr. Green "adamantly opposes repealing term limits on the eve of the election to let the mayor seek an extra term," Joe DePlasco, Mr. Green's spokesman, said in a statement yesterday.

"He has, however, told the mayor that he would support legislation delaying the inauguration [of a new mayor] for up to three months, given the unprecedented World Trade Center catastrophe, the urgent need for a seamless transition, and the importance of a united city," Mr. DePlasco added.

Mr. Giuliani told reporters at a news conference yesterday that he also had met with Mr. Bloomberg to discuss the plan and that the Republican agreed to it immediately.

The Bloomberg campaign confirmed its support for the deal late yesterday.

Mr. Green, who captured 35 percent of the vote in Tuesday's Democratic primary, faces a runoff election Oct. 11 against Bronx Burrough President Fernando Ferrer. Mr. Ferrer received 31 percent of the vote on Tuesday, but a runoff is required to choose the Democratic mayoral nominee, as neither candidate won 40 percent of the vote.

Mr. Ferrer said he also met with Mr. Giuliani, "but after listening to his proposal and giving it careful and thoughtful consideration, I have decided that I cannot support it. I know the politics of the moment might dictate a different position, but I am deeply concerned about the precedent this would set."

Yet Mr. Giuliani said he will seek a third term on the Conservative Party ticket if he is unable to extend his current term by three months, Michael Long, the state Conservative Party chairman, said in an interview yesterday.

The agreement came at a late-night meeting Wednesday between the two men at a midtown Manhattan restaurant, Mr. Long said.

"I told him that our mayoral candidate, Terry Gray, a Queens attorney, would step aside so Rudy could run on our [ticket]," Mr. Long said.

"Giuliani said he wanted to extend his term, which ends January 1, to April 1, in order to help get the rebuilding of the city started right," Mr. Long said. "He told me we need to put the city's budget together, and this is no time for second-guessing by brand-new mayoral staffers, because we are under the gun.

"Rudy told me if his proposal that the mayoral elections take place as scheduled but that the newly elected mayor defer taking office until April doesn't work, he'd like to run for a third term," Mr. Long said. "I offered him the mayoral spot on our ticket if the extended-term proposal falls through, and he accepted."

In a statement and a subsequent network television interview on Wednesday, Mr. Giuliani hinted about a "possibility" he would solicit a change in the city's law so that he could seek election to a third term as mayor. The current law limits the New York mayor to two four-year terms.

On CBS' "60 Minutes II," Mr. Giuliani said he was "open to the idea" of staying in office past the end of his term if New Yorkers wanted him to.

Mr. Giuliani has been hailed for his leadership since the Sept. 11 attack. Some New Yorkers have urged him to stay on to help guide the city through the crisis.

On Wednesday, Mr. Giuliani called state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to solicit his support for legislation that would allow him to seek a third term, Eileen Larrabee, the speaker's spokeswoman, confirmed yesterday.

Asked if Mr. Silver, a powerful Democrat, would be sponsoring a bill to abolish term limits for the post of New York mayor, Ms. Larrabee said that is uncertain.

"While the speaker does not support term limits, he's uncomfortable changing the rules, since that would mean overturning the will of the people. However, these are extraordinary circumstances, and so he will be discussing it with his conference," she said.

c Ralph Z. Hallow contributed to this report.

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