Thursday, April 19, 2018
Editorials

'Yes' on Brooksville City Charter changes

Brooksville voters will have two opportunities to amend their city charter in the Nov. 6 election and both proposals are worthy of approval. The city charter — a body of laws functioning like a local constitution — describes how city business will be conducted and sets forth the powers of local officials. It can be changed only by the voters and is reviewed periodically by citizen committee for suggested changes. This year's recommendations both apply to filling council seats.

No. 1 charter amendment section 2.02

This measure would change the current term limits for serving on the City Council from two consecutive four-year terms to three terms, effectively allowing council members to serve up to 12 years without interruption.

Term limits are intended to prevent officials from remaining in office indefinitely by using the power of incumbency to trounce all challengers. Supposedly, term limits also bring in new blood and fresh ideas, but they sometimes result in a loss of continuity. Current council member Joe Johnston, for instance, previously served on the council for two terms but then had to sit out a cycle before running again.

Term limits limit elected officials' careers but also voters who are denied the opportunity to select a someone for a third term. A better amendment would be to repeal term limits entirely, but at least the proposed charter change reduces the impact. Voters should approve this amendment and extend council term limits to three consecutive four-year terms.

No. 2 charter amendment Section 2.04

This proposed amendment is a matter of housekeeping. It allows for the forfeiture of office should a council member move outside the city and fail to meet the residency requirement.

That is the rule used now, but this proposed change establishes it as part of the charter. It, too, should be authorized.

On the city of Brooksville's charter amendments No. 1 and No. 2, the Tampa Bay Times recommends yes.

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