Perryville con­sid­ers changes to term lim­its



— The town board is cur­rently ex­plor­ing chang­ing the terms of the mayor and com­mis­sion­ers from two years to three years to al­low com­mis­sion­ers to run for mayor without los­ing their seat.

Un­der the cur­rent char­ter, the mayor and com­mis­sion­ers serve two-year terms and are elected in stag­gered fash­ion with two com­mis­sion­ers on the bal­lot one year and the mayor and the


other two com­mis­sion­ers up for elec­tion the fol­low­ing year.

Com­mis­sioner Robert Ashby, the new­est mem­ber of the board who was just elected this past May, said changes need to be made so any sit­ting com­mis­sioner could run for mayor without wor­ry­ing about los­ing his or her seat. For ex­am­ple, Ashby said that since he was elected in the cy­cle with the mayor, he would have to think hard about run­ning for the seat now held by Jim Eber­hardt.

“If you’re that in­volved and you want to be mayor ... basically I want my cake and to eat it too,” Ashby said.

He doesn’t want to risk los­ing his com­mis­sioner seat to seek the mayor’s of­fice. Com­mis­sion­ers Michelle Linkey and Alan Fox run in the other cy­cle and would not face the same dilemma, he noted.

Ashby sug­gested mov­ing the elec­tion from the se­cond Tues­day in May to Novem­ber so it could be held along- side the state or fed­eral elec­tions.

But Denise Breder, town ad­min­is­tra­tor, said that would never be al­lowed. In­stead, vot­ers would have to travel from Perryville El­e­men­tary School to Perryville Town Hall to par­tic­i­pate in both elec­tions.

Ris­ing Sun’s com­mis­sion­ers voted in Fe­bru­ary 2013 to move its town elec­tion from the se­cond Mon­day in June to the third Mon­day in Oc­to­ber. The two-year terms were also ex­panded to four.

Linkey brought up the idea of ex­pand­ing the terms of of­fice to four years. Breder said that in her con­ver­sa­tions with Eber­hardt, she knows he would not fa­vor the longer term for sev­eral rea­sons. Breder said Eber­hardt — who was ab­sent from the Tues­day night work ses­sion — points to the trou­ble Port De­posit has in fill­ing its bal­lot be­cause of the length of the term.

“It could be eas­ier if we went to four-year terms,” Linkey coun­tered.

It was then sug­gested Perryville con­sider three-year terms. Then the two com­mis­sion­ers would run in one elec­tion cy­cle and the other two the fol­low­ing year with the may­oral con­test alone in the third year of the cy­cle. It would give any com­mis­sioner the chance to pur­sue the higher of­fice.

Any changes to the terms would have to be in the form of a char­ter amend­ment and a draft of such an amend­ment is sched­uled to be pre­sented at the Nov. 15 work ses­sion.

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