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Last year, the residents of Methuen voted to create a Charter Review Commission to review and make recommendations on changing the city charter. The recommendations of the commission will then go to the voters, who will decide on whether or not to change the way the city operates.
Last month, the Charter Commission took a vote to eliminate term limits. Methuen has a system where elected officials can only hold a particular office for three, two year terms and then must take a term off before running again for that office.
What often happens in Methuen is that, after an official has served out three terms, they run for some other municipal office for one term and then run again for office they left because of term limits. That’s why we see names like Willette, Henrick, and Vogler on the ballot for city council and then school committee, and then city council again.
The vote of the Charter Commission was 5-4 with members Cronin, DiZaglio, Bourrasa, Vogler and Grondine voting to eliminate term limits in Methuen and Pappalardo, Kalil, Uliano, and Donovan voting against the eliminating term limits.
The decision whether or not to eliminate term limits will go to the voters and is expected to be on the ballot this November or as early as this April.
Our prior editorials have consistently opposed term limits of any kind, as we believe that the ballot box is the best term limit. The voters, and only the voters should decide on who should be elected or re-elected, not a law or an ordinance which takes that decision away from the voters.
Our founding fathers did not support term limits imposed by law or ordinance, as there were no term limits in the original passage of the United States Constitution. Later, the constitution was amended to add term limits for President of the United States only, but the founding fathers did not support them and neither do we.
We are pleased that the Methuen Charter Review Commission also do not support term limits and we are hopeful that Methuen residents will vote to eliminate them as well.
Let’s allow the people of Methuen to decide who should represent them as their mayor, on their city council and their school committee, not a select few who don’t like the results of an admittedly revolving door election system that returns the same people over and over to elected office.
With so few people willing to get involved and put their name on the ballot in Methuen to begin with, imposing term limits only puts further limits on the choices that the voters have to choose from.