Brigantine Voters Consider Term Limits for Politicians

Brigantine’s Phil Guenther suggests there are upsides to handling Mayor duties for unlimited years. “One of the benefits of being in office is I feel very comfortable working with elected officials” Guenther told The Press of Atlantic City. “You do develop a lot of those relationships over the years.”

The 22-year Mayor of Brigantine is shooting for 26 this November.

Are Brigantine voters comfortable with having one person in that powerful position for a quarter century? Are the 70% of taxpayers that consider themselves part-time residents…. OK with that kind of un-opposed longevity?

According to the National League of Cities, term limits can reduce potential abuses of power by incumbents who stay too long in office. Limits may also encourage political participation by newcomers. Those that want no limits say the election process itself already serves as the antidote for long-serving mayors who are no longer responsive to citizens.

Of cities that impose term limits:

  • 55 percent limit the mayor to two terms
  • 30 percent set the maximum to three terms

Term limits may also be seen as an infringement on the democratic process, as citizens are restricted from selecting a candidate they may see as the most qualified for the position. It’s interesting to note that some cities do not limit the number of total terms that may be served, but rather place a limit on successive terms.

What do other members of Brigantine City Council think about this issue?

Brigantine Councilman Frank Kern: “term limits of eight years were part of the platform that I ran on 4 years ago. I favor a limit of two terms on City Council for all including ward, at-large and mayor positions. If re-elected this November, I will not run in 2018”.

Mayoral candidate & Brigantine Councilwoman Lisa McClay : “I am open to discussing the possibility of term limits for mayor and council. Term limits would put an end to the career politician, and I believe it would encourage more citizens to run for office.”

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4 thoughts on “Brigantine Voters Consider Term Limits for Politicians”

  1. I’m in favor of term limits for all the reasons discussed. I don’t really see a downside. I think two 4 year terms would be reasonable for mayor and other elected offices. I don’t think people should be able to run again for the same office after completing two terms—-consecutive or not. Brigantine doesn’t need its version of Vladimir Putin. (Yes, I know I’m exaggerating). Continuity can be maintained by unelected civil servants who would have the oversight of newly elected eyes at least every eight years.

    My husband and I are non-resident home owners—-some (who shall remain nameless–but it rhymes with Tramerican Region) would call us “shoobies” 😉 (http://www.boomeresque.com/a-shoobie-view-of-brigantine-new-jersey/) . Be that as it may, we care about Brigantine and pay our taxes without too much whining.

  2. Homeowner/taxpayer’s on the island regardless of their primary/secondary home status should be permitted to vote in all Brigantine elections for all positions. Absentee ballots should be legalized and counted for secondary homeowners.

    Positions should be restricted to two terms. Complacency causes issues that have negative impacts on the island, residents and it’s future. All positions from Mayor, tax collector, Chief of Police, Fire Chief, etc. should be voted upon by the Brigantine taxpayer’s. If you have performed above the job requirements you will be reelected. But a guarantee lifetime position should never be in politics.

    Two terms will eliminate nepotism which is an issue in Brigantine. It will place a control on salaries, union contracts, etc. and will involve the citizens in more decision making. If we have two terms, nobody can point the finger in the future because the burden of making decisions will be on the citizen because we will have a vote .

    Currently many on the island feel our slogan needs to be changed to: “the island you’ll love for life…or until you can’t afford to live here anymore”

    We need to work to reverse this feeling now.

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