Arlington resident claims victory in standoff over term limits
Arlington resident Robert Johnson had contended that individuals who signed were deceived into believing that the incumbents would be allowed to serve the remainder of their terms.
Judge John Neill denied a request for a summary judgment and dismissed the lawsuit.
Johnson’s attorney, Andy Taylor, did not immediately respond to a voice mail asking for comment.
Lawyers for the City of Arlington and for two organizers of the successful petition drive, Zack Maxwell and Faith Bussey, said that was not the intent of the charter amendment.
Maxwell’s attorney, Warren Norred, called the lawsuit a “ridiculous case” on Facebook on Tuesday, saying “carry on with normal elections, citizens of Arlington, without further notice.”
The lawsuit raised the issue of whether two council members, Robert Shepard and Sheri Capehart, who were reelected last year, could serve to the end of their terms in May 2020 before being term-limited out of office.
Three incumbents — Kathryn Wilemon, Lana Wolff and Michael Glaspie — won’t be able to seek re-election on May 4.
The mayor and council members are now limited to three two-year terms retroactively.
There was urgency for the judge to make a ruling since the filing deadline for Arlington’s city elections is Friday.
Shepard and Capehart had not said they were worried about serving out the rest of their terms. The judge’s ruling means there should be no questions about them able to serve the remainder of their terms.
The May elections are already drawing plenty of interest. Three candidates have already announced for mayor — incumbent Jeff Williams, Chris Dobson and Ashton Stauffer. And a fourth, Ruby Faye Woolridge, who lost in a primary runoff last year for the 6th Congressional District, said Tuesday that she was also running for mayor.