Whitehall voters will be asked this fall to consider three charter amendments, including one that would extend the maximum number of consecutive terms an elected official may serve from two to three.

Whitehall City Council on July 10 approved legislation 6-0 for the placement of three city charter amendments on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Councilman Larry Morison was absent.

"It's something voters should decide," Council President Jim Graham said, adding that no further discussion occurred July 10 because the subject had been vetted at previous meetings.

The other two charter amendments would create a gender-neutral charter by removing masculine pronouns and references found throughout and would change the line of succession for mayor.

Currently, if the mayor leaves office for any reason during a term, the council president is next in line, followed by the service director.

Because the service director is neither elected nor required to reside in Whitehall, the charter-review commission recommended that the service director be removed from the line of succession, Graham said.

Instead, a member of City Council would be second in line to succeed the mayor.

Twice before voters have rejected suspending term limits.

In 2013, City Council approved the placement of a ballot issue to lift term limits.

It failed with 62.5 percent voters rejecting the issue.

Voters also rejected a ballot issue to rescind term limits in 2002.

Term limits were instituted in 1993 for the mayor, auditor, law director, council president and members of council, gaining voter approval after the death of John Bishop, who died in office after serving as mayor from 1972-93.

But the term-limit proposal, as presented, has never been put to voters.

"We're not asking they be terminated, just extended," Graham said.

Council members considered asking voters to end term limits.

Council voted 6-1 on June 19 with Councilman Bob Bailey dissenting to indefinitely table and effectively killing an ordinance that would have asked voters for a third time to rescind the two-term limit.

While it was impossible for both term-limit models to advance to the ballot, Bailey said he wanted council members to consider both models.

He would have preferred, he said, for the charter-review commission to have made that determination and then recommended only one model to council.

Bailey would not say which charter-amendment proposal he favors but that the "commission deserves the honor" and "council has the obligation" to advance the issues to the ballot.

A five-member charter-review commission met four times between Feb. 26 and April 9 to review the 86-section city charter and make recommendations to City Council.

"Our commission worked hard and did their homework," and I support their recommendations, Councilman Wes Kantor said.

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