Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg thinks that being able to serve three terms in office is a good idea - just not for anyone else.
On Monday, in an unexpected confession, Mr. Bloomberg said he wanted to reverse the changes to the city’s term-limits law, which he successfully campaigned for in 2008. Those changes are now the subject of a little-publicized ballot initiative on Election Day.
The mayor said he would vote to restore a limit of two terms, down from three, and to ban the City Council from rewriting the rule for sitting elected officials, closing a legislative loophole that Mr. Bloomberg exploited in his quest to remain in office beyond eight years. The results of the ballot initiative would not affect Mr. Bloomberg, but would affect his successors.
During a news conference, the mayor said that the term-limits initiative, which will appear on the back of the paper ballots on Nov. 2, was imperfect and badly designed, but that he would support it anyway.
"It’s better than what we have now," Mr. Bloomberg said, without explaining why or acknowledging that his administration had written the existing law and heavily advocated for it.
It was the latest installment in the story of Mr. Bloomberg’s ever-evolving relationship with term limits. An outspoken supporter of two terms, he once called Council members who proposed extending them "disgraceful." Then, as his own time in office wound down, he reversed himself and advocated for three terms, saying they offered voters greater choice.
"You can make that case for two terms or three terms," he said at the time. "In this case, after listening to everybody, I’ve been convinced that three terms is right."
Now he seems to have settled on something of a compromise: three terms for him, and only him.