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Westmont Village Board supports term limit referendum

Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 6:00 a.m. CDT

WESTMONT — Westmont voters may soon have the opportunity to limit elected officials to no more than two, four-year terms in office.

On Monday, the Westmont Village Board approved a non-binding resolution endorsing a referendum on the November 2014 election ballots asking voters if they would support placing a term limit on Westmont's elected positions.

Because a new village board will be seated this spring — six candidates are running for three seats — the current board cannot take any action on the issue. The resolution approved Monday essentially encourages the next village board to take a look at the term limit issue.

The issue was brought before the board by Trustee Lee Fleming, who believes residents need to see a greater variety of elected officials.

"I think sometimes complacency sets in, and it is not only a problem at local levels, but at higher levers of government as well," said Fleming, who is not seeking re-election this April.

The referendum would include all village elected officials, but trustees had concerns about the village clerk position, as it requires more training than other offices. One idea presented to alleviate this was to appoint rather than elect the village clerk.

Trustee Ellen Emery said on one hand, it should be up to the voters to decide if an elected official should contine to serve, but on the other hand, having a limit to the number of years could help local elected officials accomplish more.

Emery is ending her first term on the board this spring, and is also not seeing re-election.

The resolution approved by the board is non-binding, which means the next board is not required to put such a referendum on an upcoming election ballot, but trustee Bob Scott said he hopes the board would choose to do so.

Scott said that in some cases, it can take up to two years to even fully understand what holding an elected office is all about, but he agreed that term limits would be a good thing.

"In many other occupations, more experience is better, and it used to be that way in government," Scott said. "I used to think that the longer I am here, the better, but after being on the board for six years, I have changed my mind on that."

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