CITY COUNCIL. City Council has been criticized for not policing itself before, but they’ll get another chance after a bill was introduced Thursday that would impose term limits for the 17-member body.
In its first session back from winter break, Councilman W. Wilson Goode proposed legislation that would amend the City Charter to only allow three consecutive four-year terms. Council members who win re-election next year could not run after 2015.
His Council colleagues weren’t exactly jumping on the bandwagon.
“Who’s going to vote to eliminate their job?” asked Councilman Frank Rizzo, serving his fourth term. “If I did a lousy job, you know who would be overseeing my term limits? The voters.”
David Thornburgh, at the Fels Institute of Government at University of Pennsylvania, said there are downsides to term limits despite general support from good government groups.
“I think the other thing that we’ve seen is that there’s a danger around the country when we have overly restrict terms limits,” he said. “You lose institutional knowledge, you lose people who can work effectively in the legislative body.”
But Goode said he wants the next generation to have a chance.
“Asking people to participate in democracy should not be limited to voting,” he said.”Each generation should have a chance to serve.”