Whitehall News

Yes on Issue 31 means term limits abolished


Whitehall residents will have several significant choices on the Nov. 5 ballot, including deciding whether term limits should remain in effect for municipal officeholders.

Whitehall City Council members earlier this year opted to place on the ballot only two of the recommendations of the Whitehall Charter Review Commission.

Issue 31 on the ballot will ask Whitehall voters to abolish term limits, which voters had approved via a charter amendment is 1993. Issue 32 will ask voters to change the election cycle of the auditor.

Voters in 2002 rejected a ballot issue asking voters to lift term limits, but proponents say the time is right to ask the question again.

Steve Quincel is chairman of "Your Right to Vote," an organization that supports Issue 31. No known formal organization is opposed to Issue 31.

Whitehall Mayor Kim Maggard also is a proponent of Issue 31.

"Term limits were a hot topic in the early 1990s," Maggard said, and numerous municipalities instituted term limits, but many since then have rescinded them.

In Franklin County, only Upper Arlington still has term limits for elected public officials.

"An attorney or CPA would think long and hard about leaving a private-sector job to take a job with the city, knowing it will end in eight years," Maggard said.

Like many who oppose term limits, Maggard said term limits still could exist without making it a formal policy.

"It's called the ballot box," Maggard said, adding that Whitehall voters have demonstrated de facto term limits by not only electing challengers in lieu of incumbent officeholders, but also by successfully recalling a seated council member mid-term.

"I think having term limits encourages a lack of experience at a time when we need (elected officials) who understand our vision," Maggard said. "Even without term limits, voters have the final say."

In the only opposed City Council race, for Ward 3 representative, the candidates are opposed about term limits in Whitehall.

Candidate David Nixon supports keeping term limits in place.

His opponent, Larry Morrison, said although he is not opposed to term limits in principal, the practice does not serve Whitehall well and should be lifted.


Issue 32: Change election cycle for city auditor

Issue 32 asks voters to change the election cycle of the auditor.

Currently, the auditor is elected on the same ballot with the mayor, city attorney, treasurer, council president and at-large members of City Council.

If Issue 32 is approved, the auditor would appear on a ballot opposite those offices two years later. The auditor instead would be on a ballot with ward representatives of City Council.

The term of auditor Dan Miller expires Dec. 31, 2015.

If voters approve Issue 32, the next election for the auditor in 2015 would be for a two-year term, followed in 2017 for a four-year term.