Terminating term limits

County commission mulls over removing election walls

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Tim Jantz, chairman of the Moffat County Republican Party, will present a resolution to the Moffat County commissioners Monday morning asking for a ballot initiative to eliminate term limits for non-policy making county offices.

Jantz came before the commissioners Tuesday to request a time when the issue can be discussed in a public forum.

"I've brought this in because as county commissioners you have to make a decision on the resolution," Jantz told the commissioners.

All Moffat County elected officials are currently held to two terms.

If the resolution were approved by commissioners, put on the ballot next fall and approved by voters, term limits would be removed for the offices of Moffat County Clerk and Recorder, county treasurer, county assessor, county coroner and county sheriff. The resolution does not call for the removal of term limits for county commissioners.

Jantz said the resolution was overwhelmingly approved at the recent Republican Party caucus and assembly.

"At this point the people have spoken," Jantz said.

Jantz will present the resolution at 10:30 a.m. Monday. At that time county officials and members of the public are invited to voice their support or dissent for the proposal.

The resolution reads "Where as:

Such offices which purposes are to administrate policies rather than create and change policy, would better serve the public if not restricted by term limits.

Such experience developed by serving the public would not be restrained by term limits.

County offices of persons that create and change policy will not be exempt from term limits."

Jantz said the local Republican Party believes it makes sense to remove term limits for some elected officials.

"We can still vote people out of office," he said. "The problem we see is every time you put somebody new in office, they have to start all over and learn a new job."

"If people see that someone is not doing a good job the word gets around," he said. "The next election they can get voted out. We have an educated public here."

Jantz said the county commission offices were left out of the term limit exemption because of the inherent difference between those offices and the rest of the elected positions.

"The sheriff, clerk and assessor have more in-depth professional jobs and tasks," he said. "The public does not see where that's the same for a commissioner."

The county has until July 26 to put the resolution on the ballot.

"I think we need to take it under advisement and give people time to comment on it if they want," said Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos. "We want elected officials to have an opportunity to speak on it. I've always believed in term limits but I realize we can have term limits by way of the voting booth."

Doing away with term limits would not be something new for the area.

In the November 2000 election, voters in Routt County moved to remove term limits for all elected officials by alomost a two-to-one margin of ballots cast, Routt County Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland said.

In November 1999 Rio Blanco voters also tossed out term limits with similar results to those of Routt County, Rio Blanco County Clerk and Recorder Nancy Amick said.

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