Pearland City Council votes against adding mayoral term limits to charter ballot item

Pearland City Hall
Pearland City Council typically meets on the second and fourth Mondays of the month. (Haley Morrison/Community Impact Newspaper)

Pearland City Council typically meets on the second and fourth Mondays of the month. (Haley Morrison/Community Impact Newspaper)

At the Feb. 10 meeting, Pearland City Council discussed adding term limits for the mayoral position to a list of charter amendments to go before voters this May. The amendment would have allowed a mayor to serve three terms before stepping down for a full three-year term. After sitting a full term out, a candidate could run again.

Council Member Luke Orlando proposed this amendment as Mayor Tom Reid has announced he will step down. A new mayor has not yet been elected, meaning it could be proposed without seemingly targeting a specific mayor, Orlando said.

“I think what historically has been the issue is that there is a perception that if [you] are in the middle of the mayor’s term and you want to pass a charter amendment that you are targeting a charter amendment at that given mayor,” Orlando said. “This gives us a unique opportunity to say, ‘This is not a personality thing, this is not about any given mayor, this is about the people of Pearland.’”

Orlando was the only council member to vote in favor of the measure, meaning voters will not see the amendment this May.

Other council members, including members Woody Owens and David Little, stated that elections can act as term limits, as voters have the opportunity to vote elected officials out.

“Every time we are up for re-election that’s a term limit. If you don't want us, if you don't think we are doing what you think we should do, then vote us out,” Owens said.

Some disapproval was not toward the measure, but toward the timing, as Monday was the last day council could vote to approve placing the new charter measures on the May ballot. The charter committee had been working on new measures for six months, council members said.

“I appreciate the research and the effort,” Council Member Trent Perez said. “I think at this point, something as expansive as a change as what we are proposing—would kind of fly in the face of what the charter committee did.”

Perez proposed the council discuss this item at a later date to bring for the charter’s consideration, as the item was worth discussing, he said. However, the charter cannot be amended again for another two years due to state law, though the charter commission can meet in the meantime, city attorney Darrin Coker said.

Council did unanimously vote that the other charter amendments proposed would go to the voters in May. Ultimately, voters must approve any changes to the city's charter.
By Haley Morrison

Haley Morrison came to Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after graduating from Baylor University. She was promoted to editor in February 2019. Haley primarily covers city government.


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