The Rowlett Charter Review Commission has made a recommendation to change the mayor term limits from two terms to three.
The current charter states that an individual cannot serve more than two consecutive three-year terms as mayor, and an individual cannot serve more than two consecutive three-year terms as a council member. The charter does not define the maximum number of years of service that an individual could provide. There is not a term limit that exists in the charter aside from the consecutive term implications.
“The commission felt that this type of political dynasty is something we would like to avoid, but conversely the commission believes that the current limit of two three-year terms in each capacity puts a limitation on the effectiveness of council members,” said Jeff Winget, member of Rowlett Charter Review Commission.
The learning curve of freshman council members is estimated to be two to three years of service with several committees, government task forces and entities. Given the tasks, council members are encouraged to continue growing throughout their first term. The commission recommended that with a change to the term lengths, it would offer an additional lifetime cap of service (term limit) and an opportunity for Rowlett to be represented with continued leadership or the regional and state level.
“I like the addition of an additional year or additional term of three years. It does take a while to get your feet on the ground, and when you look at regional boards they look at seniority and how long you served,” Councilman Matt Grubisich said. “Having that extra time would be wonderful.”
The commission further explained that the intention of the consecutive term could force new ideas and establish leadership during a period of time.
Mayor Tammy Dana-Bashian has been the first elected official on the Council of Governments (COG) Board and Dallas Regional Coalition. She explained that the Regional Transportation Commission has a requirement of extended terms to be represented.
“I had no influence on your recommendation, and I don't know if I'm going to support it as it's currently written, and the council will ultimately make that decision,” she said. “I want the public to understand how important representation on these boards and commission is. That representation is absolutely important to our community and almost impossible to get if you’re not tenure or known in the region.”
The council will decide whether to put the commission’s recommendations on the ballot for a future charter election.