Port Angeles to seek public comment on term limits for council members

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — City staff plan to seek public input on possible changes to City Council term limits after a council member brought up the issue.

“I strongly support the idea of term limits,” Councilman Brad Collins said at Tuesday’s meeting, adding that he would support a limit of two consecutive four-year council terms.

That would be a change from the current limit of three consecutive terms.

No formal action was taken at Tuesday’s meeting concerning term limits.

The current term limit was increased from two to three in 2000, after a 4-3 council vote.

No current council members sat on the council in 2000.

“I haven’t been a big supporter of term limits,” Mayor Dan Di Guilio said at Tuesday’s meeting.

“I think the voters will tell us if we’re doing our job.”

Di Guilio explained that he thinks council members would benefit from enough time on the council to understand myriad complex city issues.

“I would not be supportive of reducing it,” he added.

“I’d certainly be supportive of just leaving it alone.”

Deputy Mayor Patrick Downie said he wouldn’t want to make any changes to council term limits without a broad effort to get input from residents.

“We need to hear from the public,” Downie said.

Councilman Dan Gase agreed.

“I’d really look forward to more feedback from the public,” he said.

Councilwoman Sissi Bruch said that at this time, she’d be in support of a two-term limit, adding, “I would really like to hear people’s input about it.”

Councilwoman Cherie Kidd said she’d also like public feedback, possibly through a survey included in city utility bills, which is how it was done previously.

Councilman Lee Whetham said he would like some sort of push to encourage younger residents to run for council positions included in the discussion of term limits.

“I’d like to see some young people get involved with city government,” he said.

City Manager Dan McKeen said he would work with city staff to develop methods to get public input on term limits and bring those back to council members for consideration in the coming weeks.

“I do think that it makes sense to let this percolate awhile,” Collins said.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 02. 2014 6:32PM
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