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updated: 10/3/2017 4:49 PM

Buffalo Grove board rejects term limit suggestions

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  • Buffalo Grove Village President Beverly Sussman

    Buffalo Grove Village President Beverly Sussman

 

Responding to a suggestion from residents, Buffalo Grove village board members on Monday took up the idea of term limits -- and quickly decided to put it back down.

Village President Beverly Sussman said residents brought up the matter at a previous village board meeting. But on Monday she, along with village trustees, said there was no need to restrict how long someone could serve.

"To me, we do have term limits," Sussman said. "It's called an election."

Trustee Andrew Stein said that while term limit might make sense in some circumstances, Buffalo Grove voters have shown a willingness to vote out incumbents.

"Our electorate does turn away people when they feel that their time is up," he said.

Trustee Dave Weidenfeld noted village voters in 2015 elected a new village president and voted out an incumbent trustee. Half the village board has served in their current role for less than one term, he added.

Buffalo Grove has had 11 village presidents, with an average tenure of 5.3 years, and 72 trustees, with an average tenure of 4.9 years, Trustee Jeffrey Berman said.

"Our electorate has shown on multiple occasions that it is more than capable of removing or rejecting an incumbent," he said, adding that the village made Illinois history when voters recalled sitting Trustee Lisa Stone in 2010.

Berman also emphasized the importance of experience on the village board, especially since the panel acts as a check and balance on village staff.

"Power doesn't dissipate. It transfers," he said. "And when you lose the institutional knowledge and continuity on the board, that power gets concentrated elsewhere, typically to staff. We have terrific staff. (But) when you have a board that's always playing catch up in its knowledge and its information, you lose the ability both of the board and staff to collaborate."

Term limits are rare among suburban municipal governments. Rolling Meadows, Des Plaines and Lombard are among the handful of communities that have imposed them.

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