Community Opinions

COMMUNITY OPINION: Term limits, a robust community conversation

City Council candidate Tim Burns writes that strong arguments could made for and against term limits, which is precisely why a conversation is needed.

This community opinion was contributed by Tim Burns, candidate for Hollister City Council District 4. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent BenitoLink or other affiliated contributors.

The residents and voters of the City of Hollister should have a robust community discussion regarding term and time limits for local elected officials. It is my understanding that if the majority of Hollister voters wanted to change this practice it would require a ballot initiative. Time has passed for this election cycle but there is plenty of time to move forward in the next election cycle in two years (2022).

Strong arguments can be made for and against term limits which is precisely why a robust conversation is necessary. Ballot initiatives are not free so we also need to be fiscally responsible. My recommendation is to let the people decide.

It makes little sense to me that currently elected Council Members serve a four-year term while the citywide elected Mayor serves a two-year term. Currently the number of consecutive terms is unlimited for both Council Members and the Mayor. My recommendation is to put it to a vote of the people in 2022.

If the people decide to limit the number of terms it should become effective from the time it is approved by the voters.

It also makes more sense to increase the length of term of the Mayor from two years to four years. It seems counterproductive for a Mayor to be limited to two-year terms. Once a Mayor is elected, particularly if it is their first term, it may take the Mayor six months to begin to implement their elected platform. It can take years to build professional relationships with other elected and appointed officials. It can also take six months for that Mayor to campaign for a second term. Essentially that limits the Mayor to working for the people on city business for only one year at a time.

As a candidate for City Council I strongly support term limits for the Mayor and Council Members. I believe it will create a safeguard against political favors, corruption, personal agendas and allow for new ideas and new leadership. It will also put elected officials on notice and on a timeline that may give them a sense of urgency to complete projects they campaigned for and were elected to implement. I believe that term limits will assist the community in holding elected officials more accountable.

My recommendation is that the Mayor and Council Members be allowed to serve up to two, four-year terms consecutively, and then be required to take a four-year break before running for election again.

What are your thoughts?

Thanks,
Tim Burns
Hollister City Council Candidate District 4 Position
(831) 801-3661, timburnsconsulting@gmail.com

 

Tim Burns