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PDT STORY - EXPERIENCE THIS - Term issue nears its deadline


Term issue nears its deadline

PDT Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 26, 2006 12:07 AM EDT

Time is running out for The Concerned Citizens Group of Portsmouth and Scioto County in its quest to shorten Portsmouth City Council terms from four to two years.

On June 26, the group asked City Council to pass an ordinance and place the issue on the November ballot.

The CCG wants to amend Section 3 of the City Charter, which mandates City Council terms. City Council members have served four-year terms since 1985, but CCG President Richard Noel said the group has received no response from City Council.

On Monday, the group said it requested “a clear statement from City Council on whether or not they intend to satisfy the (charter amendment) request.”

The deadline for making the November ballot is 4 p.m. on Aug. 24.

Don't look for City Council to take any action, though.

“We talked about it at the conference meeting on Monday,” City Council President Howard Baughman said. “I don't think the votes are there to put in on the ballot.”

Four of the six councilmen would have to approve the measure in order to do so.

But if City Council does not act before the deadline, the CCG still can put the issue on the ballot in the form of an initiative. Voters still would be able to decide on two- or four-year terms.

City Clerk Jo Ann Aeh said the group would need 396 signatures from those who voted in the 2005 general election to get the initiative on the ballot.

The deadline for an initiative also is Aug. 24.

Baughman said he opposes the idea of two-year terms because it could lead to inexperienced council members.

“It would make it more difficult in dealing with people who have no experience in dealing with government issues,” Baughman said. “It's not like we just have one budget to work with.”

The city's annual budget is comprised of the general fund, capital improvements fund and enterprise fund budgets.

State and federal representatives serve two-year terms. But Baughman said that is different than Council members serving two-year terms.

He said the fact that three wards face elections every two years makes two-year terms unnecessary.

But Noel has said it would be easier to replace an ineffective Council member with two-year terms.

Councilman David Malone also opposes shortening terms.

“It's a bad idea,” he said. “Two years is not enough time to get acclimated to how city government works.”

Even though he had been attending meetings regularly before joining City Council, Malone said it took about two years before he fully understood what was going on.

He also said he thinks state and federal representatives should serve four-year terms instead of two.

Councilman Jerrold Albrecht said state and federal representatives often have been in politics before and can learn their jobs faster.

“But most people come into local politics without that background and there's an awful lot to learn,” he said.

JEFF BARRON can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.

Jul/26/2006, 9:56 am Link to this post  
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Re: PDT STORY - EXPERIENCE THIS - Term issue nears its deadline

Noels words are the only ones that make sense.

KUHN wanted to restrict recalls. Well... then two-year terms will quench the urge to RECALL.

If it takes two-years to get ramp-up to speed... then you dont have the right person ELECTED for the job.

Mr Baughman.. EVERYONE SEES that your APPOINTING GAME is gonna be hard for you to play after this coming NOVEMBER.

Accept the inevidible
Jul/26/2006, 11:57 am Link to this post  
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Re: PDT STORY - EXPERIENCE THIS - Term issue nears its deadline

 well said LD emoticon
Jul/26/2006, 4:38 pm Link to this post  

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