cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
I have long debated, with myself or family members mainly, about whether or not term limits are a good thing. I am having that internal debate again with regard to our village. I have watched as some of our local leaders over the course of time have seemed to be in tune and in touch throughout lengthy "careers" in public service. On the other hand, there are examples of those for whom a term or two would've been more than sufficient.
I do try to keep names out of the debate I have with myself but that is difficult. I'm not "after" anyone with this blog topic, but I am very interested in the feelings that readers have. My feelings about the two sides of the debate are:
Term limits assure that we have a regular turn-over of people serving their community. If we make a mistake in the way we vote, at the least there will be a limit to how long we'll be paying for that mistake. There are some whom we elect that have an idea or two that make a lot of sense, but they burn out after a term or two and don't seem to have the same "gift" for innovation that got them elected. There are some whom we entrust with a public position only to learn that they shouldn't have been put into such a position after it is too late. There are some who seem to feel that they "own" the village after having been in office for several terms, and they resent anyone else trying to play in their sandbox, all to the detriment of the community as a whole. Cliques form and those usually end up being problematic rather than good. Devoted followers can lose sight of what is good for the community. Change, so long as not disruptive, can be good.
It is difficult to get enough people who are truly interested to run for office now; term limits would only exacerbate that problem. It takes at least one term to get acclimated to the demands of the office; term limits would subject us to having to endure countless "learning curves" into the future. Every once in awhile we find the truly gifted person whom we want to keep in office forever; term limits would cause those people to have to move on even though we'd like to keep them in office. Not everyone is built to take the back and forth of local politics; term limits would subject us to much more turn-over when new people refused to run after their first term.
The term limit would need to take into account that the first term is a learning period; maybe the term limits could be for three terms thus giving the elected person one term in which to learn the ropes and two more in which to be productive.
Maybe a Leadership Germantown task could become that of teaching potential officials about the tasks they'll confront, the rules of conduct, and the history of various issues in the community.
Maybe we would need to increase the compensation paid to be able to attract people who would like to run but who believe the costs far outweigh the rewards, both psychic and monetary.
Maybe the "time out" period could be staggered in situations where trustees are elected on alternating bases in each district.
Maybe the term for president could be set on a different limit from the terms for trustees; maybe the terms themselves could be made longer or shorter as might be appropriate for different offices.
There would still be elections and there would still be recall laws available if there were to be a situation that dictated a change was necessary.
I'd be very interested in your thoughts on this subject. I run hot and cold, personally, but I think this is something that could stand to be debated. I'd be especially interested in the opinions of our elected officials.
If there is no feedback, I guess I may have my answer as to how you feel.