Whitehall News

After the vote

Maggard 'disappointed' with term-limit results

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Term limits will remain in place for municipal offices in the city of Whitehall after voters soundly rejected a proposed charter amendment to abolish them.

Whitehall Mayor Kim Maggard said she was "disappointed" with the results but respects "the will of the people."

Issue 31 asked Whitehall voters to amend the city charter by ending term limits voters had enacted in 1993 via a charter amendment.

An identical ballot issue to do away with term limits failed in 2002.

According to unofficial results from the Franklin County Board of Elections on Nov. 5, voters in Whitehall's 11 precincts rejected Issue 31 788 votes against the measure, or 62.5 percent, to 473 votes for it, or 37.5 percent.

Its failure means term limits will continue for the mayor, auditor, treasurer, city attorney, council president and at-large council members.

Whitehall resident and former council member Jackie Thompson said she is pleased the issue failed as it prevents the entrenchment of politicians, a sentiment a majority of residents appear to share based on the failure of the ballot issue, she said.

Voters approved one other proposed charter amendment.

Issue 32 asked voters to change the election cycle of the auditor. Voters approved the measure 58 to 42 percent, according to unofficial results.

The auditor currently is elected in conjunction with the mayor, city attorney, treasurer, council president and at-large council members.

The current term of auditor expires Dec. 31, 2015.

In 2015, voters will elect an auditor to a two-year term. In 2017, voters will choose an auditor for a four-year term in conjunction with ward representatives of council.

According to Maggard, current auditor Dan Miller could seek re-election in 2015, or a new person could be elected. In either case, that person could seek election in 2017 and again in 2021, each for a new four-year term.

The charter is specific that a person cannot be elected to more than two consecutive four-year terms, and the two-year interim interrupts the sequence of four-year terms, Maggard said.

In the only contested municipal race, Larry Morrison was successful is his bid as Ward 3 councilman, besting his opponent, David Nixon, in the non-partisan race to succeed Leo Knoblauch, who was unable to seek re-election because of term limits.

"I want to thank the voters for their moral and financial support of me," Morrison said, adding that he is looking forward to working with council next year to further improve Whitehall. "I want to work on continuing to attract new businesses to our city (that will result) in making our city more attractive to homebuyers."

Morrison said he also supports continuation of public assistance programs to bolster home ownership.

"We need to have more people who own their homes (in Whitehall)," he said.

Knoblauch was successful in his bid for a seat on the Whitehall Board of Education.

According to final unofficial results from the Board of Elections, Morrison received 221 votes, or 61 percent, and Nixon received 141 votes, or 39 percent.

Ward 1 Councilman Chris Rodriguez, Ward 2 Councilman Wes Kantor and Ward 4 Councilman Van Gregg ran unopposed.

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