Slow Turning Wheels

Despite passing in March, a citizeDespite passing earlier this year, a citizen’s petition for term limits is getting a lukewarm response from Londonderry councilors.

The petition was brought forward to present to voters in March. The advisory only petition recommended the Town Council propose an amendment to the Town Charter to set term limits on all non-land use boards. It was not binding on the Town Council.

The article had no tax rate impact. The Council voted not to recommend the article on a 1-4 vote, but the voters approved the item by approximately 60 percent.

While not a panacea, term limits can help ensure elected officials don’t become entrenched and inflexible while serving in office. Term limits can also draw candidates who are interested in serving the people who elected them, and not just perpetuating their time in office.

Other reasons for adopting term limits are to bring a fresh perspective to governance and add members with new and unique talents.

After one or two terms of serving as an elected official, fatigue can set in, or,  worse yet, apathy. Term limits can also ensure an outside perspective is gained prior to possibly returning to board service later.

In a meeting last month, more than six months after voters gave their blessing to the item,  the issue was raised to councilors during the public forum segment.

Only Councilor Tom Freda responded.

“I mean if the voters passed it, I guess we should look at it,” Freda said.

So, Council Chairman John Farrell said the town attorney should review the petition and the discussion ended.

There was no explanation for why the town attorney needs to review the petition, and at what potential cost to the town, before the item is addressed.

Because it was only advisory, the point of the petition was to get councilors to at least discuss term limits, something that has yet to happen.

More than six months after town voters spoke, councilors had yet to even pay lip service to the item.

This is discouraging given the fact that voters in the town have spoken.

We think councilors should listen to the people and take another look at the item.

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