It's funny to me that the first cool morning of the Fall and the first college football game of the year always seem to coincide. This is definitely my favorite time of year with school starting back (my youngest is now a senior at Byrnes - WOW!), college & high school football kicking off and Deer Season just around the corner. Hard to even think about the big election season coming up, which in my mind is the biggest election we've had since...well, since the last one.
If you follow this newsletter at all, you know that I like to try to fill you in on certain issues that need your attention. At our September Council meeting an ordinance has been proposed that I feel would be detrimental to one of our core principles: Holding our elected officials accountable. Please take time to look at both sides of this issue and let me know your thoughts.
Currently, it takes a unanimous vote of council to reappoint a board or commission member after they have served two terms. That means that if ONE councilman feels that a commission member is not the right person for the job, that member is no longer allowed to continue on the commission and must be replaced.
It is now being proposed that term limits be placed on board and commission appointments that your council representative makes. These limits would require any person that has served (3) terms to sit out for one year before being appointed to any other position.
So what's the big deal? Term limits could be a good thing, right? Well, let's look at what this really means by taking the Planning Commission as an example. Let's say that everything was clicking on all cylinders and Spartanburg was growing. Everyone in the county felt that the commission was doing its job and doing it exceptionally well. Because of this law, however, three commissioners may be removed because of an arbitrary law and replaced by three inexperienced people that will need years to get up to speed. So because of term limits, the representatives who are accountable to you no longer have the ability to control the placement of the best qualified candidate for any given position. Your control has been abdicated to an arbitrary law that cannot assess the needs and wants of the taxpayers.
Here's the worst part: Because a person can be removed with just one vote, the only time this term limit would ever kick in would be when all of council agrees that the commission member is the most qualified person for the job and should stay on for another term! How crazy is that? So if we don't like them, we can vote them off with one vote, but if we like them and think they should stay, they get removed by law. Not good policy.
Why is what we currently have any better? Right now, if your representative sees a problem on a board or commission they have the ability to make a change without even one other councilmember's help. They are able to be accountable to their constituents, making you - the taxpayer - ultimately in control of our boards and commissions and not an arbitrary law. That's the way government should be and that's why we should fight this ordinance amendment.