The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mayor and Council Terms

We have a new mayor and council. Really new. Mayor Kooiker has the most experience on the panel with eight years on the council. Everyone else is pretty darned new.

The length of terms seems to come up after every election. The most recent mayoral race was long. Mr. Hanks and Mr. Kooiker were hard at it for a months. Proponents of longer terms argue convincingly that 2-year terms do not provide enough time to get anything accomplished. Some would argue that is a good thing.

I am inclined to support 3-year terms for both mayor and council. But there are some mechanics involved in getting this accomplished. Everyone on the panel was elected to a two-year term. I agree with the mayor that the council shouldn't just willy-nilly extend their terms of office.

I do not believe it is a good idea to extend the council terms without a vote of the people who are served. I disagree with the mayor that this needs to come in the form of an initiated measure.

I believe the matter should be brought by the council to a vote of the public. It seems they have the ability to place something on the ballot, but I could be wrong (I have been before).

I think it would be only mildly complex.

Those councilpersons who face another election in 2012 will be running for either a 3-year or 2-year term, depending on whether or not the term extension passes. The mayor and remaining five councilpersons would run for whatever terms the voters have chosen in 2013.

So is it three years or four? Some have even suggested five year terms.

For now, I think three years makes sense. Five years is way too long. The problem with a four-year or five-year term is that the only way to remove a bad officeholder is via recall.

I don't think so. There is plenty of evidence of a long tenure on the council being valuable to the city and to a ward's constituents. Our new mayor is highly respected in his home ward, as evidenced by a lack of opposition in his last race and his landslide victories in others. He served eight years. Ron Kroeger served his ward very well for many years. So did Jerry Shoener. There are many examples of quality people serving their community for many years. Art LaCroix served five terms as Rapid City mayor and there are few people out there who don't believe he was among Rapid City's best mayors.

What say you Forumpians?


larry kurtz said...

I think Rapid City or another private buyer should save these properties from Stan Adelstein.

BF said...

Clearly, most voters could care less. 32% of registered voters actually voted — dismal compared to numbers in Election years. Fixing that first would be refreshing.

Otherwise, extending term limits is really moot point, isn't it? The council should do whatever it wants to and see if anybody cares.

That said, I'm guessing the current crew is about to find out what it's like to lose your institutional memory. Kind of case of City Government Alzheimers.

God help us.

larry kurtz said...

bill, someone (i think Wayne) said there is a significant number of voters registered in Rapid City that are no longer living there. Do you agree with that assessment?

BF said...

Only if you think they all move away during city elections and then back again for General elections.

The significance is between voter turnout for one type of election vs the other. We are under the mistaken impression that voting for national candidates counts more than local ones, which is of course ridiculous.

Especially if you're voting for a Democrat for president in a red state.

taco said...

I'm ambivalent when it comes to term lengths.

I'm not ambivalent about any efforts to make a career bureaucrat the most powerful man in the city, comfortably isolated from the people. A city manager who has more power than the council or mayor is a very, very bad idea.