In The News › Citizen group protesting St. Tammany term limit proposition

Feb 18, 2016

Source: WDSU

Filed under: Governance, On the Ballot, St. Tammany Parish

Citizen group protesting St. Tammany term limit proposition

By Casey Ferrand


February 18, 2016

A vote to impose term limits for the St. Tammany Parish Council is getting push back from the same group that has fought for years to get the measure on a ballot.

Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany is telling voters to skip over the proposal when they go to the polls next month in protest.

“It’s an insult to the citizens, it’s an insult to everybody who’s working so hard to get term limits in place,” said Rick Franzo with Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany, a group that has been trying to enforce term limits for the parish council since 2010.

“The longer someone stays in office, there’s a better shot of them sliding off and doing something unethical or illegal,” Franzo said. “We want change. We want new people in there. We have people sitting on that council for 28 years.”

On March 5, voters will be asked to decide whether to limit parish council members to three consecutive four-year terms. The limits would go into effect in 2020, which means current members could potentially hold their seats until 2032.

Ranzo said, “They basically gave themselves 16 more years of possibility of being on that council.”

On election day, the concerned citizens group is encouraging people to vote on every measure on the ballot except the term limits proposition. The Registrar of Voters would count that as an under vote.

“We’re asking the citizens of St. Tammany to say, ‘Parish Council this is absolutely ridiculous. You have not done what the people have asked. You’ve done what I call self-preservation and what’s your best interest,’” Franzo said.

The Bureau of Governmental Research is encouraging voters to vote yes at the polls saying, “While the proposed three-term limit is not in line with the shorter two-term limits for most parish councils in the metro area, it is a step in the right direction. The proposed 12-year limit provides council members with more than enough time to make their contributions.”

At least two current parish council members have said they will limit themselves to two terms in office.

Opponents of the amendment say term limits are not necessary to elect new council members because voters can replace them each election cycle. They also argue that term limits deprive citizens of the services of public officials with proven abilities and knowledge.

The St. Tammany Parish President Office is already limited to three terms in office. The mayor of New Orleans and the presidents of five other parishes in the eight-parish metro area are limited to two four-year terms. Council members in those jurisdictions also face term limits.

Even if voters approve the term limit proposition, St. Tammany will still be different that neighboring parishes.

Feb 18, 2016

Source: WDSU

Filed under: Governance, On the Ballot, St. Tammany Parish

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