Next Arlington Hts. trustees won't propose term limits
No matter who wins the April 7 election for village board in Arlington Heights, the village won't have term limits for elected officials anytime soon, unless a resident takes up the cause.
None of the six candidates running for four seats on the village board said they would pursue putting a term-limit referendum question on a ballot.
Term limits have been an issue in Arlington Heights for the past few years as resident Bill Gnech has failed twice to get a petition on the ballot that would term-limit both the village president and trustees.
Both petitions had thousands of signatures, but they were removed from the ballot by the village's electoral board due to the wording and quality of the petitions. Gnech has said he likely won't pursue the effort again.
While the board could pass a resolution and put a term-limits question on a ballot themselves, as has been done in Rolling Meadows and Naperville, none of the candidates running for office said they would do that if elected. Most of them don't like the idea of term limits for Arlington Heights at all.
"I don't think it makes sense at the municipal level," said Trustee John Scaletta.
Scaletta said there has been a lot of turnover in recent years on the board, which shows term limits are not necessary.
The longest-serving members of the board are Trustees Bert Rosenberg, who was appointed in 2000, and Joe Farwell, who was elected in 2001. Mayor Tom Hayes was on the board from 1991 to 2013 before being elected village president.
"If the public is really frustrated with somebody on the board, it's very easy to vote them off," Tom Schwingbeck said.
"I don't believe in somebody coming off the board, who serves the village well and does a great job, just because their term is up," Schwingbeck said.
Schwingbeck said he is already concerned that there aren't enough people willing to run for office and that term limits would exacerbate the problem.
"If all of a sudden you had term limits and these four incumbents were being forced off the board, we don't even have enough people to fill those spots," he said. "That's a real issue."
Incumbent Trustees Mike Sidor and Carol Blackwood also said they would not support a term-limits push coming from the board.
"We have term limits and that is the ballot box," said Trustee Robin LaBedz. LaBedz was appointed in 2013 to fill Hayes' seat when he was elected mayor and is running for her first full term on the board. "If you don't like someone, vote them off. To me it seems like a way to encourage people not to vote."
Newcomer D. Court Harris said he is not philosophically opposed to term limits and wouldn't stand in the way of someone who wanted them, but he said it's also not something he would actively pursue. While he said he would be concerned about the actual wording of a term limits proposal, he doesn't want to ignore the issue.
"Many, many residents signed a petition for it. To let that fall on deaf ears, to me, is not being the voice of the residents," Harris said.