Council divided on plan to nix term limits on city panels

By Dave Fidlin


A proposal to lift term limits on municipal boards, committee and commissions has been kicked over to one of the city’s committees for further analysis and a possible recommendation.

Council member James Allen proposed the city consider removing the parameters that are currently in place. A number of Allen’s elected colleagues weighed in on the possibility at a Common Council meeting May 2.

In 2009, council members at the time adopted an ordinance that set term limits. There currently are a number of variables, depending upon the specific panel. Appointees, for instance, cannot serve more than two terms if the length of one term is five years.

Allen said he brought his proposal to the full council for a number of reasons, including the challenges of finding persons willing to serve on the appointed bodies. Most of the city’s subgroups serve in advisory roles and offer up recommendations that bubble up to the council for action.

Council member James Langnes III said he agreed with Allen’s proposal and suggested other safeguards are already in place.

“I think (appointees) do have a term limit, and it’s by our having the power to vote ‘no’,” Langnes said, referring to the council’s authority to make appointments.

If an appointee is not effective in his or her role on a respective board, committee or commission, Langnes said the council can address it through a “no” vote.

“But if they’re passionate about serving … we should appreciate their service to the community,” Langnes said.

Council member Christopher Grady maintained a different perspective.

“Fresh blood is a very valuable thing when it comes to these kinds of committees,” Grady said.

The newly formed Community Involvement Commission has been tasked with looking into term limits on a deeper level. The commission’s possible recommendations will be shared with the Common Council at a later date.

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