Opinion

Unkefer: Term limits have many benefits to the community

Posted 6/29/22

Many governments, including Scottsdale and Phoenix, have term limits for elected officials, but not Paradise Valley.

Paradise Valley is fortunate to have a tradition of citizen volunteers who …

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Opinion

Unkefer: Term limits have many benefits to the community

Posted

Many governments, including Scottsdale and Phoenix, have term limits for elected officials, but not Paradise Valley.

Paradise Valley is fortunate to have a tradition of citizen volunteers who serve on town commissions and committees. The mayor and council, as well as judges, are unpaid volunteer positions.

Term limits prevent office holders from becoming entrenched. New candidates and new office holders promote responsiveness to resident input and help ensure that the views of office holders are in alignment with what the public wants.

Term limits are a positive structural reform and alters the incentives of elected officials so they think more about the good of the town and less about their next campaign. Term limits also ensure a regular supply of fresh blood and new ideas to address any challenges.

Elections are not term limits. Term limits provide fair and competitive elections. Ordinary people will have a real opportunity to run for office because they will not need to go up against incumbents’ name recognition and financial support because of being in office.

Term limits help reduce corruption and severs ties between special interests and elected officials. It also safeguards public service from those who seek to exploit it for personal gain.

Term limits help restore political courage. Term–limited elected officials can focus on the job they’ve been elected to do and then they won’t shrink under pressure because they don’t need to worry about a re-election campaign.

Term limits reduce the risk that office holders develop close relationships with lobbyists and lawyers with special interests who have reoccurring business before the town. Long-term incumbents can become susceptible to the comforts of cronyism, influence peddling and favoritism.

Term limits broaden the talent pool and opportunities for resident engagement. Instead of office holders planning and focusing on how they can be elected for term after term, they should focus on accomplishing their goals without delay and engage in succession planning and mentoring others to follow them. They should not try to maintain a good-old-boy network where they control the people who get elected or withhold the transfer of institutional knowledge. Service should be about fostering long-term success of the town.

In this election cycle, we have the mayor running for a third term and a council member running for a fourth term. This is the first election in many years that there is a choice for mayor. This suggests that there is a need to broaden the sources of recruitment and input for residents.

We applaud council members Julie Pace and Ellen Andeen for requesting that the mayor place on the council agenda a discussion of providing Paradise Valley residents the opportunity to vote on whether we should have term limits. The mayor thus far has chosen not to, and the mayor has control of the agenda.

We as residents of Paradise Valley request that the mayor and council place term limits on the ballot for voters to make that decision. Please let the voters have input and decide this issue and do not withhold that opportunity.

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