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Term limits vote gets preliminary OK

December 15, 2010

First reading of a resolution that could allow voters to place term limits on city council members and mayors in the city's charter squeaked by on a 4-3 vote Tuesday night, as the Big Spring City Council moved forward with revisions to the municipal charter.

If adopted by Big Spring voters, the change would limit council members and mayors to no more than two three-year terms — or six years in office — before being required to sit out one three-year term to be eligible to run again.

The issue was brought before the council shortly after newly elected Mayor Tommy Duncan was seated. The motion to approve first reading of the ballot language that is expected to be used during municipal elections in May was made by Councilman Craig Olson — also newly elected — with the second coming from Duncan.

Council members Manuel Ramirez Jr. (District 2), Joann Staulcup (District 3) and Gloria McDonald (District 4) voted against sending the matter to the voters, while Duncan, Olson, Terry Hansen (District 6) and Stephanie Horton (District 1) voted to send it to an election
And while Duncan made his opinion supporting term limits clear after allowing each council member to speak, several spoke out strongly against the use of term limits.

“I oppose term limits at this level of government, but I'm in favor of letting the voters decide,” Hansen told the council prior to the vote. “I've spoke to several people in my district, and all of them are not in favor of term limits.”

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