Carefree’s Propositions 488 and 489

While two year terms can easily become four-year or even six-year terms, a four-year term cannot become a two-year term without a recall
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CAREFREE – Two initiatives will appear on the ballot as Propositions 488 and 489, proposing to amend the terms of office for the mayor and council.

The initiatives, filed by Planning and Zoning Commissioner Michael Krahe, propose to increase council member terms from two years to four-year staggered terms and increase the mayor’s term from 2 years to four years.

A similar proposal was presented to voters in 2009, where it failed by 57 percent.

Two years later, citizens voted in favor of a ballot measure limiting council and mayoral terms to three two-year terms (six consecutive years) by a near 2-1 margin.

Propositions 488 and 489 clearly conflict with the town’s voter-imposed term limits.

Town Attorney Michael Wright has taken a we’ll-cross-that-bridge-when-we-come-to-it stance on how the town proposes to reconcile the conflict should either of the propositions pass.

According to the Arizona Secretary of State’s office, if a citizen meets the requirements for filing an initiative as to form, valid number of signatures and no legal challenges, the initiative will appear on the ballot, whether or not it conflicts with any existing laws.

Carefree council previously argued four-year terms would provide for continuity in government.

However, continuity isn’t necessarily a good thing if citizens don’t like their government.

And, even with two-year terms, if citizens like their elected officials, they are still free to reelect them for another term or two if they choose to run.

There’s no financial benefit to four-year staggered terms since the town would still need to hold an election every two years.

It could also diminish the pool of candidates who might wish to serve on council but are not interested in making a four-year commitment right off the bat.

While two year terms can easily become four-year or even six-year terms with each election under the current town code, a four year term cannot become a two-year term without initiating a recall.

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