Georgetown City Council will further discuss putting an amendment related to adding term limits on the November ballot.
Currently, the city charter does not include any term limits for council members or the mayor, but at the June 22 board meeting, council members discussed the proposed amendment language:
“No Councilmember elected at the May 2022 city officer election or thereafter shall serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms as a Councilmember until at least two years has elapsed from the expiration of their last term of office as a Councilmember. No Mayor elected at the May 2022 city officer election or thereafter shall serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms as Mayor until at least two years has elapsed from the expiration of their last term of office as the Mayor.”
During the public hearing June 22 on the proposed changes, one Georgetown resident spoke about the possibility of council members using the language of the current version of the amendment to manipulate the system. In order to ensure defined term limits, the resident suggested replacing the two-year cool off period with not being able to run for election after the three three-year terms.
Given the current language of the charter amendment, City Attorney Skye Masson said it is indeed possible for a council member or mayor to switch back and forth between roles should voters repeatedly elect them.
“The mayor is included within the definition of City Council but is not a council member,” Masson said.
Revising the language of the amendment was debated among council members during the workshop. Council Member Steve Fought said he does not have an issue with the current language of the amendment.
“I think it would be just fine for somebody to serve nine years on the City Council and then if need be, if the voters want, let them go on and serve as mayor,” Fought said. “There are sometimes when we try to make the rules so complicated that we take the choice away from the voters.”
Fought cited voters’ ability to make intelligent decisions as one of his primary reasons for allowing the possibility of a council member to run for mayor after their terms are up. Council Members Mike Triggs and Shawn Hood backed up Fought during the discussion. However, Council Members Tommy Gonzales and Amanda Parr dissented from Fought's point of view, citing the possibility that someone could go from one office to another repeatedly and that some kind of cooling off period should be in place.
“I could make the exception that one can go from City Council to mayor without the elapsed time,” Gonzales said. “But only that exception and [the rest of the amendment stays as is] so there can actually be a term limit.”
City Council will have a final public hearing regarding the amendment during the next meeting July 13.