Mayor White names term limits commission

December 29, 2009 3:55:52 PM PST
Mayor Bill White sat in on his last city council meeting Tuesday as leader of Houston, but not without working on one last goal -- something that could have an effect on how long other mayors can stay in office. Earlier this year, city council approved the creation of a blue ribbon panel to study possible changes in the city's term limits ordinance. In his final act as mayor, White appointed members to that panel.

With his final city council meeting over, Mayor White's tenure as the city's top elected official is almost over. But before stepping down, he named a 15-member panel to study the term limits in the city. Councilmember Toni Lawrence, who supports the concept of term limits, is on that commission.

"When I came in, I thought six years was plenty for anybody, but I do think when you're in office for 20 years, you can't possibly have a new idea," she told us.

Lawrence points out the commission does not have the authority to abolish term limits as a whole. Instead, the idea is to look at whether there might be a better alternative than the current system of three two-year terms.

"If there's recommendations, if that has a consensus within the commission, then make a proposal to city council, and ultimately it would be up to the voters to decide if there are any changes," said Mayor White.

White himself has said he's not interested in staying mayor no matter what happens and any change to the current term limits would have to be voted on by Houstonians. Current council members we talked to say it's only right for voters to have the ultimate say.

"I think there are pros and cons to each sides, and i'm eager to see their work and what comes of it," said Houston City Councilmember Ed Gonzalez.

The commission is expected to meet starting next month, but exactly what it will do remains to be seen.

Find out who's on the commissoin announced on Tuesday.


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