Gunnison officials’ days to be numbered?

City Council favorable to term-limits idea

By Robert Stevens

Managing editor

Oct. 6, 2017

 

GUNNISON—The leaders of Gunnison City are looking into implementing term limits for all current and future elected and appointed officials.

Councilman Blane Jensen broached the topic at a meeting of the City Council on Wednesday, Sept. 27. He said he felt it would be beneficial to the city in the long term.

“Some communities have it, some don’t,” Jensen said. “I feel strongly about it, but there is no rule to follow.”

Mayor Bruce Blackham, who himself has spent two terms in office and made the decision to not run for mayor again in the upcoming election, quickly agreed with Jensen. “I am not opposed to this at all. I am a firm believer in the practice.”

The council discussed a precedent for the idea; term limits are in place already for the Gunnison Valley Hospital Board of Directors. Term limits were adopted when the hospital board was formed because several members of the board felt it was important to regularly bring new blood to the governing body.

“I am all for it,” Councilman Andy Hill said. “I think it’s a good thing, and if we are going to have a rule for the hospital board, it should probably be enforced for all officials.”

Hill said he thought the change would be a good thing for the same reasons the hospital board did: making sure the people who make important decisions get switched up once in a while.

“Eight years seems like a good amount of time to let someone come in, make their mark and move on,” Hill said.

Jensen said there were a number of ways term limits can and have been put in place for public officials. Some places, he said, set a limit of two terms; others limit only to two consecutive terms; still others limit to terms as an elected official in any capacity, for life.

The council agreed to the idea in concept, and planned to continue looking into it.

Jensen offered to research various term-limit methods in other Utah municipalities and governing bodies, and return with more defined options for the council to discuss.

Term limits for elected officials would require a new city ordinance, but limits for appointed officials could be put in place merely by a change in policy adopted by the council, Jensen said.