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4-Year Terms for Elected E.P. Officials?

The Nov. 6 ballot asks voters to amend the East Providence City Charter to boost terms of office for the City Council and School Committee to 4 years. What do you think?

One of the questions on the Nov. 6 election ballot in East Providence asks voters to amend the city charter to increase the terms of office for the City Council and the School Committee from 2 years to 4 years.

Here is the question:

Shall the Charter for the City of East Providence be amended to establish four (4) year terms for members of the council and members of the school committee?

Sec. 2-1. Number, selection and term.
The council shall have five [5] members, one to be elected from any by the electors of each of the four [4] wards of the city, and one to be elected at large, for a term of two [2] four (4) years or until a majority of the newly elected council have qualified and have taken office.

Sec. 10-1. School committee.
(1)    There shall be a school committee consisting of five (5) members. One (1) member shall be elected from the city at large, and one (1) member shall be elected from each of the four (4) wards of the city at the regular city elections to serve for terms of two (2) four (4) years.
(2)    Any vacancy in the membership of the school committee shall be filled by the city council until the next regular city election.
This amendment becomes effective upon passage without further action.

Here is the explanation for 4-year terms:

EXPLANATION:

This charter amendment establishes four (4) year, rather than two (2) year terms for members of the school committee and the city council and would apply to those individuals elected to office in the 2014 election. The extension to four year terms will allow the council and committee members to gain experience when newly elected, get better understanding of the budget process, put together legislative achievements and give the voters a longer measure of performance before the next election cycle.

The incumbent members, upon reelection, would bring the benefit of long-term institutional knowledge to share with newly elected officials. In addition, this amendment brings the charter into compliance with current state law with re- gard to the school committee terms, as per Rhode Island General Laws Section 16-2-5, with no approved exception for East Providence.

A vote to approve would place this change in the city charter where it could only be removed by a subsequent charter amendment through a public vote.

A vote to reject would not place this change in the charter.

What do you think? Use the comment box below to favor or reject 4-year terms and explain why.

JR October 29, 2012 at 10:14 AM
Can you imagine 4 years of Rogers and Rose? The budget Commission would never leave!
JR October 29, 2012 at 10:18 AM
The charter change that would give EP voters the most voice in their government has never been put in front of us....a 7 member city council with 3 at-large! That way we get to vote on the council majority! Wonder why the current council majority (Rogers, Rose< etc) wouldn't even consider this charter change? But they do want 4 years terms! VOTE NO ON THIS ONE!
Rita C. Falaguerra October 29, 2012 at 11:51 AM
I will voe no for these two changes to our charter. These are flawed as there is no recall. Also, looking down the road to future of consolidations, 4 years terms are not a good idea. The future is that schools services and city/town services being consolidated for fiscal health, which is a coomon sense approach to the ever rising costs. How would having 4 year terms be beneficial especially with no recall? We need less not more districts and less committees. We need to streamline our collective rescources as we can no longer (and haven't been able to afford what we now have) for a long time. The chickens have come home to roost. VOTE NO ON THIS ONE, I AGREE.
Susan October 29, 2012 at 12:11 PM
I too am voting no. The sad part of this is we are so stupid that we reelect them to another 2 year term which is 4 years anyway. Let's keep the option for the day we wake up and vote them out. This should be about term limits not longer terms!
b1 October 29, 2012 at 12:23 PM
4 year terms with no recall is like putting the noose around your neck. The council majority are the only ones that want this, so they can better help their buddies for a longer length of time. Can anyone imagine, Rose, Rogers and Rossi there for 4 stinking years? These people have done nothing but blame the budget commission for their lack of responsibility. They opted NOT to make the hard choices that the budget commission has made. People, don't blame the budget commission for these things, it's the council majority that created the final blow to the city. Simply, the council majority wasn't and isn't doing their job. VOTE NO ON 4 YEAR TERMS. Better yet, vote NO on 4 year terms and vote these bums OUT!
Candy Seel October 29, 2012 at 12:57 PM
I am adamantly opposed to 4-year terms for EP City Council and School Committee. It was clear to me two weeks into the current term that this Council was not up to the task. If we were in 4-year mode now with no recall provision, we'd be looking at another two years before we could do a thing about it. This question was recently asked by the Post, and my statement is at http://www.eastbayri.com/news/east-providence-council-candidates-make-stance-on-charter-changes-known/. For deeper analysis, please see www.candyseel.com for May 14 commentary: “Charter Proposals Deserve Deliberation,” and September 12 blog (“Thoughts on Proposed Amendments to the City Charter”).
Rags 1 October 29, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Forget the personalities and ther name calling. If you call the elected officials stupid etc. etc. you should look into the mirror. Society is responsible for its own delinquency, and you put them there. Charter channge is necessary to meet the modern challenges irrespective of personalities. It takes 6 mos to get up to speed, and by then you are ready to spend time on re-election. East Prov is the excpetion not the rule. No plan, including Obama's or any elected official, is going to happen in less than 5 years. Government doesn't work that way, and for those that never served a day in office, will easily find that out. Mayor elected at large, 4 year terms, recall, no change in the authority of the City Manager, ethics ordinance, non-partisan posture should remain--that's the way to go. Name calling is evidence of the lack of knowledge of the issues and solutions.
taxpayer October 29, 2012 at 06:42 PM
We elect Congressmen for only 2 year terms... If as you say, Rags that after six months our city councilmen start spending time on re-election; that may explain why the budget commission is here! State reps and senators are also 2 years. VOTE NO ON CHARTER CHANGE
Ron Carmark October 29, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Four year terms is outrageous! After watching Tommy Rose and Katie and the entire School Committee elected last time I even think even two years is too long!
Bruce Zarembka October 29, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Four year terms (if this is even wanted) need to come with a recall provision, along with a change in the number of council members to three At-Large positions (total of seven council members) and finally, a term limit (certainly no more than two four year terms. Without these provisions...this proposed change to the charter should be dead on arrival. Don't buy the crazy talk that they cannot get the job done in two years. If they begin working hard on day one...positive change and tough decisions can be made. To put this another way, can you imagine a CEO, or manager being hired for a position of responsibility and being told..."don't worry, take two years to get up to speed". I think not!!!
Elizabeth October 29, 2012 at 10:25 PM
I believe that before we increase the term length we should consider staggering the terms such that we do not have a completely new Council at any given time.
Dan October 30, 2012 at 04:19 AM
You want changes? Here are some changes: Extending any terms of office is a non-starter! I don't even agree with the length of the Governor's term, let alone municipal representatives. The excuse has always been the same for the last fifty years - that the incumbent must start campaigning for re-election halfway through the term. Well there's no reason that the voters should tolerate any incumbent special privileges for re-election. The voters must demand that incumbents work for the entire term they were elected, just like ordinary citizens are expected to do. Voters should also shorten the period for election campaigns to no more than six months, and candidates for re-election should not be permitted to spend such time campaigning while on the payroll. All of the other solutions mentioned only up the cost of electing competent individuals. There's no reason why a recall election should ever be considered - its only an excuse for people who aren't happy with the candidate that was elected, to reverse the decision of the voters.
C the light October 30, 2012 at 04:42 AM
This is certainly not the time for such insanity......really....why would anyone vote yes to this ..........why?.?.?.?
Paul October 30, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Although a term extension is completely unwarranted, there are other charter provisions that we should consider for future City Council and School Committee members: - Must be able to speak coherently and succinctly, without the use of terms such as 'like', 'um', or 'dem guys'. - Must not prefer the sound of their own voice over the sound of the citizens' voice. - Can wrap their head around the concept that when expenses exceed revenue, that is a bad thing. - Must never begin a statement with: "As my old law professor used to say...." - Terms will be for two years, or until such time as one of the above provisions is violated, whichever comes first.
Dan October 30, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Ragsey, why are always on the wrong side of issues? What you are supporting is the dominance of the incumbent over the interests of the people. As I mentioned previously, our system has permitted the deck to be stacked in favor of the incumbent. That is not democracy, and, it is not what the founding fathers envisioned for our society. Check out my previous argument: elected officials are not a special class of citizenry - they are public servants, they are responsible to the people - they are not, nor should they be, entitled to take a leave of absence half way through their term, so as to run for re-election. Political campaigns need to be reduced to no more than six months. If the Charter is to be amended, it should done so as to effect more power to the people, rather than to the politicians. I will agree with you that the voters have abdicated their responsibilities to oversee what is being done by their elected officials in their name. Having said that, I will add that once we discover that certain actions of public officials are not in the best interests of the people, we need to actively oppose those actions, and, if need be, replace those officials with others who will serve the needs of the people.
Rita C. Falaguerra October 30, 2012 at 04:31 PM
This message is for Paul. I totally agree with you, however, you did leave one "beaut" out, AXE....'i am going to axe the City Manager/or whomever, to look this up and get back to me." AXE! I think that word is like scratching your nails on a chalkboard!! AXE!! OMG!! REALLY!!
Joe Botelho October 31, 2012 at 03:29 AM
Can't understand a four year provision for a city that has a city manager. This, along with the other charter change proposals only enhance the pervasive influence the of the special interests in EP. As a former councilman I am voting no on all of them.
b1 October 31, 2012 at 11:43 PM
Mr Botelho, Yous guys should axe the people that thinked it up. Seriously, the only reason for the 4 year term change is to benefit those who assume they are going to get back into office as well as the one who thinks they will get in. Tides are changing in this city and I really hope people have educated themselves to these and all candidates out there. The budget commission isn't here because we won the toss, we earned it, we got it. I can only hope if the 4 year term flies the budget commission stays, forever!
Rags 1 November 05, 2012 at 04:02 PM
There are a lot of issues that a state legislative candidate has to tackle: Here is a few that nobody wants to tackle because of the party leadership or the electorates lack of attention: Early voting so it doesn't feel like the DMV, recall of all officers in the Assembly by petition, override of Committee Chair authority by majority vote of the committee so good bills don't get torpedoed by any lobbyist with money, strengthen Home Rule and no mandates without funding, stronger ethics legislation and transparency etc. etc.. Name calling and blaming ourselves for those in office don't do it.

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