On May 10, Weatherford residents will have the opportunity to vote on a decision that will change the length of terms for City Council members.
Currently, council members hold seats for two years. A change to the charter would lengthen that to three years with the mayor’s election held separately, staggering the elections so that a quorum is never voted in with one election.
“You never lose the majority of the council at any one election,” City Manager Jerry Blaisdell explained. “That brings some consistency to the people sitting on the council.”
Such a change would let the council members run for office every three years instead of every other year, giving them more time to invest in the city and learn about the position instead of serving only about 18 months before turning attention to the next election.
“Breaking that so they can concentrate on the business of the city, I think, is going to be very beneficial,” Blaisdell said.
The staggered elections of no more than two council members at a time guarantee that the council maintains a majority that has already spent time in office.
“It brings some stability to making sure that we stay consistently on track with where we’re trying to go,” Blaisdell said. “You don’t completely change direction with one election.”
Blaisdell said this change had been considered in the past and the work that started years ago is now coming to fruition.
“I don’t see any downside to at all,” Blaisdell said of his own opinion, although he said some people might not like the idea of longer terms. “I think it’s going to bring some stability to the running of the city of Weatherford.”
It will also allow council members to be appointed instead of elected if fewer than 12 months remain in the term. Early voting in the charter election began Monday and closes Tuesday.