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Commissioners to backtrack on term-limit issue?

Tue, Nov 16, 2010

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It looks as if County Commissioner Amy Lathen is having second thoughts about commissioner term limits.

She was part of the 4-1 commission majority to refer to voters on Nov. 2 a controversial measure about extending commissioner term limits from two to three.

An e-mail yesterday from the ubiquitous Jeff Crank of Americans for Prosperity stated that she will join Darryl Glenn and Peggy Littleton, newly elected to the commission, in revisiting the issue.

The three commissioners have apparently pledged to put a more clearly worded version of the measure on next November’s ballot, which would plainly state that its effect would be to extend, not institute, term limits.

That could be costly.

No elections are as yet scheduled for next November, so the County would have to pick up the entire tab for a special election. The exact cost of such an election is unknown, but it would certainly be in the low six figures, money which the strapped county government could better use for more pressing needs.

Rick Wehner, whose efforts to draw attention to the measure’s deceptive character seemed to have borne fruit, is pleased by Lathen’s change of heart.

In an e-mail this morning, Wehner said “Have not had a firm, written commitment to that effect, but I would put a couple of hundred bucks on it! Did have a long conversation with Amy yesterday – and I feel she sincerely feels bad at having been a part of what has turned out to be a piece of poor judgment. But have we not all?”

Politically, it’ll be interesting to see how Sallie Clark and Dennis Hisey deal with the suddenly shifting political ground. They’re on the spot, while Jim Bensberg, the sole commissioner to oppose the measure, suddenly looks like a statesman.

The commissioners are meeting this morning. Can we expect some fun fireworks?

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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Rick Wehner Says:

    Handled correctly, this could be a win for the commissioners as taking the lead in rebuilding trust with the voters, regardless if the causes for distrust were warranted or not — and a win for the county effort to explore ways to more fully engage the public in issues coming before the Board and planning commissions and the advance notice process.

  2. Ed Duffy Says:

    It’s a shame that money has to be spent on putting an honest version of the measure on the ballot. But it’s also necessary due to the deceptive, and I believe intentionally so, nature of the measure as it was written for the Nov 2 ballot.