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updated: 1/11/2011 5:02 PM

Lombard ballot to include term limits question

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Lombard voters will get a chance in April to share their views on imposing possible term limits on the village president, clerk and trustees.

The village board agreed to place an advisory referendum question on the April 5 ballot to collect input on the issue.

A "yes" vote will signal voters want the village board to consider a binding referendum to place limits on the number of consecutive terms officials can serve.

"We certainly will get the opinion of the residents to find out whether they support an item like this and then the board will make a decision whether to go forward with a referendum or with a change to limit the terms," Village President Bill Mueller said Tuesday.

The advisory question asks voters if they would support a proposal to limit the village president and trustees to three consecutive terms. Such limits would only include full four-year terms and would not take effect for officeholders until the next time they are elected. At that point they would each be eligible for three more consecutive terms.

Mueller, who already has served four terms and would be eligible for at least three more even with the term limits, says he opposes the measure.

"I'm here today because the residents of the village of Lombard have supported me and voted me in the office. Residents should retain that ability to vote for who they want to vote for," Mueller said. "I am still opposed to term limits."

Trustee Bill Ware brought forward the idea of asking voters about term limits in mid-December. Ware said limiting the time people can serve prevents officials from becoming complacent.

"I like the idea of term limits because it encourages new people, new ideas," Ware said.

In the past 30 years, one village president, one clerk and one trustee have exceeded the proposed term limits, according to village election records. One other trustee served three terms, but they were not consecutive.

"There is no actual issue with term limits in the village of Lombard as far as I can tell," said Trustee Greg Gron, who was the only one to vote against putting the advisory referendum question on the ballot.

If the question passes, the village board may decide to place a binding referendum on the ballot in the next municipal election. Voters would have to pass that second question as well before the term limits would begin.