Canfield city residents to vote on term lengths, limits in Nov.

Published: Thu, August 2, 2018 @ 12:03 a.m.

By Amanda Tonoli


City voters will consider term lengths and term limits for council members in November.

Council members Wednesday night passed an ordinance recommended by a charter review commission to amend the city charter to increase council terms from two to four years.

Former councilman Joe Locicero said it’s difficult to have a team mentality when council members are turned over so frequently in office because of the current two-year terms.

“It’s a disservice to the team to turn over like that and expect something [productive] come out of it,” he said.

The productivity in question is defined as getting projects done as well as long-term planning for the business of the city, said city lawyer Mark Fortunato.

“It takes more than two years to get something done,” said council chairman John Morvay. “You need some time to get acclimated and get ideas.”

Councilwoman Christine Oliver said by the time you start learning something, you could be leaving.

Council also passed an ordinance to change council term limits to four-consecutive terms rather than the current three.

If voters approve both amendments, council members could serve a total of 16-consecutive years – four years for each of the four-consecutive terms.

Resident Jill Lewis said having both amendments using the word “term” on the ballot will be confusing to voters. To avoid confusion, she was in favor of merely putting the one ordinance regarding term lengths on the ballot now and term limits later.

Karen Frederick, resident and charter review commission member, agreed.

“The more important thing is dealing with the two-year term,” Frederick said.

Resident Frank Micchia, who rallied for the charter to be changed to two-year council term lengths, said in a dissenting opinion: “Let me remind council that not long ago, the citizens of Canfield approved the current term limits.”

“The last charter commission also wanted to change terms, but council had the common sense to stay away from it,” Micchia said. “Now we have a new charter commission, running amok, appointed by council, recommending that council ... terms be lengthened. Sounds like a little patronage to me: ‘Thanks for appointing us. We’ll make your terms longer.’ I do not recall the charter review commission sitting in council sessions to observe its workings. What qualifies them to make such drastic recommendations? These positions are not careers, [and] we need to continually refresh our city government and get new and fresh ideas.”

Micchia said he thinks residents will vote down the amendments.

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