Tangipahoa council sets April 13 public hearing for voters to decide on term limits

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AMITE, Louisiana — The Tangipahoa Parish Council has set an April 13 public hearing for a proposal to allow parish voters to decide whether to limit the terms of the parish council and parish president.

The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1CUoAsm ) the proposal would limit the offices to three consecutive four-year terms. If the council allows the proposition to go to the voters, it would appear on the Oct. 24 ballot.

The council rejected a similar proposition last year. A yearlong study by a Charter Review Commission appointed by the council recommended term limits. However, when the matter came before the council for final approval to submit to the voters, the measure failed on a 5-5 vote.

On Monday, the council voted 7-3 to at least introduce the term limits proposition.

Changing their vote from last year's proposal from no to yes were Ronnie Bankston and Trent Forrest.

The measure was introduced by Nicky Muscarello, who said his only intention is to allow the voters to make the decision. He also contended that some elected officials get "entrenched" in their positions while would-be public servants who are qualified get shut out of the election process.

Councilman Lionel Wells said he opposes term limits because such laws create automatic "lame duck" terms of office when the official no longer feels obligated to the voters. Wells said his research of term limits shows they had no impact on better government nor did they "open doors" for more women and minorities to gain access to public office.

Outgoing Parish President Gordon Burgess has been the only person to serve as parish president since voters approved a change from the old police jury system to the home rule charter creating the council-president form of government in 1986, having been elected to consecutive four-year terms.


Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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