The Charter Review Board was created by the city commission and their task was to look at the City Charter and make independent recommendations to the commission.
One of their recommendations was to create term limits for elected officials.
The ballot proposal for term limits was discussed and voted down (3-2) at the Oct. 26 city commission meeting. To be clear, I support term limits just not what was proposed by the Charter Review Board.
If that proposal was aimed at eliminating “career politicians,” it did not do that. It limited terms to 12 years and, after a two-year break, the same official could run for 12 more years. That would be 24 years with only a two-year break or 36 years with only a four-year break. It did not fail because of the approximate $1,000 cost to get a referendum on the ballot as some speculate.
I suggested two alternatives: a total of eight or 12-year terms with a longer break in service and supported separate term limits for the position of commissioner and mayor. My suggestions were not accepted by the other officials.
Changing the City Charter requires a referendum on the ballot to be voted on by residents. I did not agree to bring the Charter Review Board’s proposal to the voters because it failed to address the issue of “career politicians.” While that kind of change would not affect me, I must think about what is beneficial for the voters and the future of the city. A well-crafted provision that provides meaningful term limits is more acceptable to me. Furthermore, severely curtailing terms could have a negative impact if someone is termed out and there are not any viable upcoming candidates. We must be careful what we ask for.
To place a referendum on the ballot, the paperwork must be completed and sent to the Broward County Supervisor of Elections by the spring of the year of the referendum. Thus, the term limit issue was proposed to be on the November 2022 ballot, not November 2021. There is time to revisit the term limit issue if that is the will of the city commission.
Also, any change to the City Charter is not retroactive and would only impact those candidates elected after the Charter change was passed by the voters.
- Paul Rolli, vice mayor of Wilton Manors