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posted: 1/8/2013 5:38 PM

Arlington Hts. reviewing term limits petition

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Arlington Heights officials are reviewing more than 2,700 signatures on a petition turned in this week calling for a binding referendum on the April ballot that would require term limits for trustees and the village president.

Resident Bill Gnech turned in the petition Monday afternoon to place the question on the April 9 ballot, which if approved, would limit elected officials in Arlington Heights to serve two four-year terms or eight years of service over their lifetime.

The public has until Jan. 14 to view and file objections to the 79-page petition, said Village Clerk Becky Hume.

The village is also reviewing the petition to make sure it meets minimum standards, she said. A valid petition needs 2,448 valid signatures of registered Arlington Heights voters -- or 8 percent of the number of voters at the last gubernatorial election, she said.

Hume said a few people have asked to look at the petitions, but no objections had been filed as of Tuesday.

If an objection is filed, an electoral board will meet to hear the complaint, similar to if a challenge was filed against a candidate running for office.

Typically an electoral board is made up of the village clerk, village president and longest serving trustee, but since Thomas Hayes is the longest serving trustee and also a candidate on the April ballot for village president, Hume said the board makeup may be different.

The petition doesn't specify how the term limits would be implemented, but Gnech believes anyone elected in 2013 would be grandfathered, so they could get 12 years of service, or three terms. Every trustee or mayor elected in 2015 or later would fall under the eight-year limit.

Gnech has been talking about term limits for some time, originally in reference to Village President Arlene Mulder, who was first elected to the board in 1991 and was elected mayor in 1993. Mulder announced this fall that she would be retiring at the end of this term, but several village trustees have served for more than eight years.

"It's good to have new blood in all forms of government -- local, state and federal," Gnech said. "Eight years is a really long time."

Hume said this is the first time the village has had a resident-sponsored referendum on the ballot in decades.

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