Roswell council votes on term limits for elected officials

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ROSWELL, Ga. — The Roswell City Council voted Feb. 13 to send two resolutions to the State Legislature regarding term limits for city councilmembers and the mayor.

The motion to send the previously adopted 2016 resolution met with almost unanimous approval, with only Councilman Jerry Orlans opposing.

The resolution amends the charter to limit the number of consecutive full terms a councilmember can hold to three, with each term spanning four years. Elected terms prior to 2017 would not count toward that limit.

The resolution was first voted on in February 2016, with a motion to pass it down to the State Legislature.

“It should have been sent down, but I was requested to hold it by councilmember Mike Palermo, who wanted to add a pay-to-play provision,” said City Attorney David Davidson.

Palermo stated multiple times that he was for councilmember term limits.

An improved resolution was voted on again Jan. 25, 2017 and was once again held, this time by Orlans.

“I thought that it should be updated. We have a councilmember’s signature [Kent Igleheart] on it that’s not even a councilmember anymore,” Orlans said.

Councilwoman Nancy Diamond, who previously voted against the resolution, changed her vote after considering how the councilmembers conduct business.

“We’ve been able to do some things that take a really long time, because people have been here and worked through and pushed and kept at it,” Diamond said. “But what I’ve discovered in the past year is that that’s not how we operate anymore. So now when we have disagreements, I read about it online or I hear about it in the paper. We don’t talk about it. I’ve suggested in multiple emails that I might change my position, but I never got a call from anybody here.”

The council also motioned to pass a resolution to amend the City Charter to clarify the term limits for the Office of Mayor. Like the councilmember resolution, the mayor’s seat would be limited to three four-year terms, not counting any elected terms prior to 2017, and was voted on previously in February 2016.

The 2016 resolution was sent to the State Legislature, but it was not acted upon in the 2016 Legislative Session. The current resolution asks the Legislature to act on the resolution.

The resolution passed, three to one, with Councilman Marcelo Zapata opposing.

“We’re now on the third resolution. We keep sending resolution after resolution with the same wording. This is a joke,” Zapata said. “How many more resolutions do we need to send?”

For the discussion and vote, Mayor Jere Wood recused himself.

From a legal standpoint, Wood was not obligated to recuse himself, Davidson said, after some audience members questioned if Wood had recused himself in previous discussion of the resolution.

According to Diamond, the previous vote on the resolution brought hundreds of constituents to the council chamber in a show of support for the measure.

Before voting for it, Palermo raised some concerns about sending both resolutions to the State Legislature at the same time and asked for a short delay between sending them.

Councilmember Donald J. Horton said that he failed to see how sending them both at the same time would cause problems, but he agreed to amend the motion to send the second resolution a day after the first.


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