Portage councilman proposes term limits for elected city officials
By John Robbins Post-Tribune correspondent August 28, 2012 4:00PM
John Cannon. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 30, 2012 6:14AM
From the steps of Portage City Hall, first-term District 4 councilman John Cannon called for term limits for Portage elected officials Tuesday morning.
“Term limits will improve the responsiveness of our elected officials to their voters and help restore public confidence in city government,” Cannon said.
Cannon also sees term limits as a means to infuse new energy, ideas and people into city government.
Citing the eight-year term limits on the top officials in Indiana and Porter County, Cannon called on Portage “to lead the way becoming the first city in Porter County with term limits on its mayor, clerk-treasurer and City Council members.”
Cannon submitted an ordinance to Clerk-Treasurer Christopher Stidham to be introduced for first reading at next week’s City Council meeting. The ordinance limits Portage officeholders to two consecutive terms of four years each. The ordinance, if passed, would not become effective until the next election.
For his part, Cannon said, “I don’t plan on being a City Council member for longer than eight years,” but indicated he would consider sitting out a four-year term before running for office again.
Council president Sue Lynch expressed disappointment that she first heard about the ordinance at Tuesday’s news conference. “I’m a little disturbed that the council president wasn’t informed about the matter.”
District 5 councilman Matt Scheuer also had not been informed of the ordinance beforehand and said he is not supportive of the ordinance. “We have term limits. When the voter decides the officeholder has been in too long, they vote them out of office,” said Scheuer.
Stidham, while not expressing surprise at Cannon’s actions, expressed dismay, “With all that’s going on in the city, I don’t think it’s really something the council needs to spend its time on. How are we going to solve health insurance?”
Stidham also thinks that the ordinance, if passed, would be unlawful and could conceivably result in the city being sued by an elected official or voter.
Mayor James Snyder was unavailable for comment.