Quantcast

Proposal for 20 year term limits for commissioners, voters to de - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Proposal for 20 year term limits for commissioners, voters to decide

Posted: Updated:
SHREVEPORT, La. -

Caddo voters will decide Saturday whether or not to extend their parish commissioners' time in office from 12 to 20 years. Commissioners are currently restricted to three consecutive four year terms. Saturday's ballot proposal extends their term limits to five consecutive four year terms. Those seeking the extension believe term limits are pointless, since voters can replace them with someone new at any election.

 

Extending the term limits hasn't proved popular in the community. The Caddo Parish Republican Party has come out adamantly against the proposal. Parish Republicans believe term limits brought "decorum and efficiency" to the commission board at a time when it was bogged by disfunction.

 

The Shreveport Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors also recently voted to oppose a term limit extension. Dick Bremer, the chamber's president, says the organization has a long stance supporting limits on politicians' time in office. He believes term limits enable new ideas to emerge and influence government decisions.

 

"We thank those commissioners who have served and may have to be moving on from their service, but we also strongly believe getting new people with fresh ideas, renewed energy could be very, very positive to the commission and for Caddo Parish," Bremer said.

 

The chamber's unhappiness with the proposal goes beyond ensuring a mechanism exists to command fresh faces on the commission. The proposal's presentation to the public has even been criticized and deemed inappropriate. The new law, Bremer pointed out, is written on the ballot with language he believes may confuse voters. He claims the public actually desires term limits imposed on their elected officials.

 

"We know from our research and from research from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that an overwhelming majority of people prefer term limits," Bremer said. "On this particular ballot, it's not real clear that there are term limits, it's 12 years, but if this proposition passes it would be increased to 20."

 

What's on the ballot:

 

The legislative power of the parish government shall be vested in a Commission consisting of members who shall be called commissioners and who shall be elected for four-year terms from districts enumerated in Section 9-01, one from and by the qualified electors in each district. The commissioners shall be limited to five (5) consecutive elected terms.

 

There are raised eyebrows over the term limit proposal's timing, as well. It was originally meant to be presented to voters in the April 2013 election. Commissioners delayed the vote until this month. Bremer thinks people are unaware there's an important election.

 

"An October 19 election is a date that not many people understand that we have an election coming up," Bremer said. Some observes believe the voter turnout will be in the single digits.

 

Michael Williams, district 3's commissioner, couldn't disagree more with the chamber or Republican Party. Williams doesn't want term limits at all. He's stated restrictions aren't fair to voters but limit their rights. Williams says let them decide when a commissioner should give up their seat.

 

"When elected officials get to the point where they don't serve at the pleasure of the people; then the people are your boss, they are your superiors. They have the right to vote you out," Williams said.

 

The Caddo Republicans claim the opposite. Harold Coates, the party's chairman, stated in a resolution that voters parish-wide would suffer from a lack of term limits. He argues people are limited to vote solely within their district. That means they have to put-up with whatever commissioner a different district elects, no matter if they feel the official does more harm than good for the whole parish. Coates says term limits offer "fail-safe protection" for those voters. Limits ensure the unwanted commissioner must step down from the board at some point. Williams says all voters should accept any official elected.

 

"In a free government, we can't get into deciding what's best for a particular district, what's best for a part of the country," Williams said. "That's the people they decided to elect. I don't have any right to decide what's best for them."

 

Some have raised questions about other changes to a commissioner's benefits. This year, for instance, the commission passed an ordinance allowing them to buy into the parish's health insurance plan. That's a benefit usually reserved for parish employees and not elected officials. A pay raise proposal may go before commissioners before the end of the year, as well. That would be a $6,000 increase on their yearly salaries.

 

It wasn't easy for commissioners to pass the ordinance that put the term limits extension on the ballot. They bickered over it for weeks. Some commissioners, like Williams and David Cox, originally wanted a proposal that brought an end to term limits altogether. Others like Matthew Linn or Mike Thibodaux wanted nothing changed at all, holding similar beliefs of the chamber of commerce.

 

Voters will judge a compromise on Saturday's election. It was written in the Personnel Policies and Procedures Committee, which is chaired by Stephanie Lynch, district 7's commissioner. She says term limits have been a hot topic on the commission since they began in the 1990s.

 

"Well, I've been on the commission for ten years and it's been an issue for the entire ten years, even preceding my term on the commission," Lynch said. "When term limits were enacted in 1991, it was controversial."

 

David Cox and Lynch are the only commissioners currently in their last terms. Even so, Lynch has a record of being against a change to term limits, believing it'll lead to disfunction similar to Congress. She did, however, vote for the compromise, a decision she now claims to regret. Lynch bluntly tells voters not to vote in favor of the proposal.

 

"There were nine commissioners to put this back on the ballot," Lynch said. "I supported it, but that was mistake."

 

Lynch makes it clear term limits don't enforce a lifetime ban from office, like with the U.S. presidency. Current limits restrict each commissioner to three terms. After their terms are up in 2015, Commissioners Lynch and Cox will have to step away from their seats. Their districts will elect another representative for the new term beginning in 2016. When that term is over, Lynch and Cox can run again for their old seats.

 

Commissioners can have a shorter wait, according to Lynch. If a newly elected commissioner's seat becomes vacant, the old, out of term commissioner can fill their place. She says Lindora Baker returned to the board through this rule.

 

"If circumstances present themselves, you can actually come back," Lynch said. "That's what happened when Herschel Brown died. It was less than six months before Lindora was back."

 

The Oct. 19 election falls on a Saturday. Polls open at seven that morning and close at eight that night. No matter their views, both sides on the term limit argument encourage voters to exercise their rights.

 

  • News NowMore>>

  • US to assign 3,000 from US military to fight Ebola

    US to assign 3,000 from US military to fight Ebola

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 5:44 AM EDT2014-09-16 09:44:50 GMT
     The Obama administration is preparing to assign 3,000 U.S. military personnel to West Africa to combat the Ebola crisis that has overwhelmed local health care systems and drawn appeals for help from the region and aid organizations.
     The Obama administration is preparing to assign 3,000 U.S. military personnel to West Africa to combat the Ebola crisis that has overwhelmed local health care systems and drawn appeals for help from the region and aid organizations.

  • Ethics complaint filed against Sen. David Vitter

    Ethics complaint filed against Sen. David Vitter

    Monday, September 15 2014 11:28 PM EDT2014-09-16 03:28:31 GMT

    A Democratic group has lodged an ethics complaint against Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter, alleging he violated state campaign finance restrictions.

     

    A Democratic group has lodged an ethics complaint against Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter, alleging he violated state campaign finance restrictions.

     

  • Third person linked to cop shooting in custody

    Third person linked to cop shooting in custody

    Monday, September 15 2014 11:26 PM EDT2014-09-16 03:26:56 GMT

    New Orleans police say a third person believed to be linked to the weekend shooting of a police officer at a sandwich shop has been taken into custody.

     

    New Orleans police say a third person believed to be linked to the weekend shooting of a police officer at a sandwich shop has been taken into custody.

     

  • Crime StoppersMore>>

  • Kenneth Willis' capital murder case delayed, state will assign new counsel

    Kenneth Willis' capital murder case delayed, state will assign new counsel

    Monday, September 15 2014 8:01 PM EDT2014-09-16 00:01:38 GMT
    Kenneth Willis (Photo: Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office)Kenneth Willis (Photo: Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office)
    Less than a month before his jury selection scheduled to start, Judge Brady O'Callaghan pushed back accused child killer Kennth Willis's trial.
    Less than a month before his jury selection scheduled to start, Judge Brady O'Callaghan pushed back accused child killer Kennth Willis's trial.
  • Tattoo could lead to arrest in Shreveport UPS break-in

    Tattoo could lead to arrest in Shreveport UPS break-in

    Monday, September 15 2014 6:37 PM EDT2014-09-15 22:37:47 GMT
    Crimestoppers has cash for clues to a crime that was caught on camera.It happened September 6th at the UPS store in the 2500 block of Bert Kouns in Shreveport.
    Crimestoppers has cash for clues to a crime that was caught on camera.It happened September 6th at the UPS store in the 2500 block of Bert Kouns in Shreveport.
  • Names of Shreveport Police officers in shooting incident released

    Names of Shreveport Police officers in shooting incident released

    Monday, September 15 2014 6:18 PM EDT2014-09-15 22:18:51 GMT
    The Shreveport Police Department has released the names of two officers involved in a shooting incident Saturday evening in north Shreveport.On September 14, Officers Barbara Kendrick and Marie Jones were placed on routine paid administrative leave by Chief of Police Willie Shaw pending an investigation into a shooting incident which occurred at approximately 10:20 p.m. on September 13.During the incident, Officers Kendrick and Jones were actively searching the grounds of an apartment complex...
    The Shreveport Police Department has released the names of two officers involved in a shooting incident Saturday evening in north Shreveport.On September 14, Officers Barbara Kendrick and Marie Jones were placed on routine paid administrative leave by Chief of Police Willie Shaw pending an investigation into a shooting incident which occurred at approximately 10:20 p.m. on September 13.During the incident, Officers Kendrick and Jones were actively searching the grounds of an apartment complex...
  • KTBS 3 InvestigatesMore>>

  • Shreveport mayoral candidate "doubled dipped" thousands of dollars

    Shreveport mayoral candidate "doubled dipped" thousands of dollars

    Monday, September 15 2014 2:00 PM EDT2014-09-15 18:00:14 GMT
    There's more "double dipping" trouble for a candidate for Shreveport mayor.Back in May, we showed you how Patrick Williams explained away one questionable hotel reimbursement. But our research has turned up a pattern of double dipping by the state representative. That is, he got paid back twice for the same expense.Our research from just the year 2012 shows that williams double dipped 45 times for a total amount of $4,021.88. He was paid back once by the state of Louisiana -- the taxpayers --...
    There's more "double dipping" trouble for a candidate for Shreveport mayor.Back in May, we showed you how Patrick Williams explained away one questionable hotel reimbursement. But our research has turned up a pattern of double dipping by the state representative. That is, he got paid back twice for the same expense.Our research from just the year 2012 shows that williams double dipped 45 times for a total amount of $4,021.88. He was paid back once by the state of Louisiana -- the taxpayers --...
  • Closing a "fatal gap:" How Louisiana is doing 9 months after enhanced background check laws go into effect

    Closing a "fatal gap:" How Louisiana is doing 9 months after enhanced background check laws go into effect

    Monday, September 8 2014 12:16 PM EDT2014-09-08 16:16:54 GMT
    Tuesday, September 9 2014 6:00 PM EDT2014-09-09 22:00:26 GMT
    About one year ago, KTBS brought you a startling investigation into federal background checks for firearm purchases. Background checks are supposed to weed out felons and mental defectives. But Louisiana had reported zero mental defectives to the FBI's background check system, making us one of the worst states for keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. Because of that, lawmakers passed laws to fix these broken background checks. Until this law went into effect, someone could walk...
    About one year ago, KTBS brought you a startling investigation into federal background checks for firearm purchases. Background checks are supposed to weed out felons and mental defectives. But Louisiana had reported zero mental defectives to the FBI's background check system, making us one of the worst states for keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. Because of that, lawmakers passed laws to fix these broken background checks. Until this law went into effect, someone could walk...
  • The Military’s Search for 1 little boy ends in Shreveport: "Hope you make it." ---- Gavin

    The Military’s Search for 1 little boy ends in Shreveport: "Hope you make it." ---- Gavin

    Thursday, August 21 2014 10:31 AM EDT2014-08-21 14:31:10 GMT
    Saturday, September 6 2014 5:02 PM EDT2014-09-06 21:02:06 GMT
    © "Hope you make it." ----Gavin© "Hope you make it." ----Gavin
     Airmen and soldiers serving in Afghanistan found laughter in difficult times, all courtesy of 4 little words in a letter from a school child – “Hope you make it. – Gavin” The troops wanted to meet the young man who inspired them so much.
     Airmen and soldiers serving in Afghanistan found laughter in difficult times, all courtesy of 4 little words in a letter from a school child – “Hope you make it. – Gavin” The troops wanted to meet the young man who inspired them so much.
  • ArkLaTex SlideshowsMore>>

  • Just for fun: Look at 2013 Pumpkins and Punkins #3harvest

    Just for fun: Look at 2013 Pumpkins and Punkins #3harvest

    Saturday, September 13 2014 11:23 PM EDT2014-09-14 03:23:09 GMT
    © A look back at Fall 2013© A look back at Fall 2013
    Thank you to all of our viewers who sent us your pumpkins and punkins pictures. #3harvest
    Thank you to all of our viewers who sent us your pumpkins and punkins pictures. #3harvest
  • KTBS Friday Football Fever 9-12-14

    KTBS Friday Football Fever 9-12-14

    Saturday, September 13 2014 6:22 PM EDT2014-09-13 22:22:46 GMT
    KTBS Friday Football Fever is in full swing, Check it out
    KTBS Friday Football Fever is in full swing, Check it out
  • North LA Criminal Justice Academy graduates 15

    North LA Criminal Justice Academy graduates 15

    Friday, May 23 2014 5:03 PM EDT2014-05-23 21:03:25 GMT
    Friday, May 23 2014 5:03 PM EDT2014-05-23 21:03:25 GMT
    Photy by: Josh Cagle, Bossier Parish Sheriff's OfficePhoty by: Josh Cagle, Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office
    Fifteen recruits from four agencies became certified P.O.S.T. (Peace Officer Standards and Training) law enforcement officers during the graduation of Class 011 from North Louisiana Criminal Justice Academy May 23.
    Fifteen recruits from four agencies became certified P.O.S.T. (Peace Officer Standards and Training) law enforcement officers during the graduation of Class 011 from North Louisiana Criminal Justice Academy May 23.
  • Assignment EducationMore>>

  • Arkansas gives shade trees to elementary schools

    Arkansas gives shade trees to elementary schools

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 5:53 AM EDT2014-09-16 09:53:37 GMT
     Nine Arkansas elementary schools have been selected to receive shade trees as part of a state program designed to reduce skin cancer risk in children.
     Nine Arkansas elementary schools have been selected to receive shade trees as part of a state program designed to reduce skin cancer risk in children.

  • District kicks off 'Re-imagine Caddo the Plan for Excellence" campaign

    District kicks off 'Re-imagine Caddo the Plan for Excellence" campaign

    Monday, September 15 2014 11:19 PM EDT2014-09-16 03:19:55 GMT
    One of the largest school districts in the state, the Caddo Parish School Board, is asking for the public's help, through their "Re imagine Caddo the Plan for Excellence" campaign.
    One of the largest school districts in the state, the Caddo Parish School Board, is asking for the public's help, through their "Re imagine Caddo the Plan for Excellence" campaign.
  • Fighting School Violence

    Fighting School Violence

    Monday, September 8 2014 2:14 PM EDT2014-09-08 18:14:17 GMT
    Friday, September 12 2014 11:33 PM EDT2014-09-13 03:33:54 GMT
    Although school violence at any level is unacceptable, school leaders say schools are not more dangerous now than they where a decade Ago.One recent tragedy of an in school homicide has put a spotlight on violent behavior in students to the public's attention.
    Although school violence at any level is unacceptable, school leaders say schools are not more dangerous now than they where a decade Ago.One recent tragedy of an in school homicide has put a spotlight on violent behavior in students to the public's attention.
  • NationalMore>>

  • Trump Plaza shuts down; 4th AC casino to close

    Trump Plaza shuts down; 4th AC casino to close

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 7:11 AM EDT2014-09-16 11:11:56 GMT
    Tuesday, September 16 2014 7:12 AM EDT2014-09-16 11:12:11 GMT
    When Trump Plaza opened on May 14, 1984, Donald Trump called it the finest building in Atlantic City, and possibly the nation.
    Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino closed its doors early Tuesday, the fourth Atlantic City casino to go belly-up so far this year.
  • NY boat crash: Criminal case ends, lawsuits await

    NY boat crash: Criminal case ends, lawsuits await

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 7:11 AM EDT2014-09-16 11:11:53 GMT
    Tuesday, September 16 2014 7:12 AM EDT2014-09-16 11:12:05 GMT
    The criminal case stemming from a drunken boat ride on the Hudson River that took the lives of a bride-to-be and her fiancé's best man is ending. But the case may persist in civil courtrooms for years.
    The criminal case stemming from a boat ride on the Hudson River that took the lives of a bride-to-be and her fiancé's best man is ending. But the case may persist in civil courtrooms for years.
  • Mom charged in son's 1991 murder is due in court

    Mom charged in son's 1991 murder is due in court

    A Florida woman charged in the 1991 death of her 5-year-old son is scheduled to make her first appearance in a New Jersey courtroom.
    A Florida woman charged in the 1991 death of her 5-year-old son is scheduled to make her first appearance in a New Jersey courtroom.
  • KTBS 3 News Tips

    Send your news tip or story idea to the KTBS 3 Newsroom.  Enter your email address below to get started.

    * denotes required fields
    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thank you for your submission to KTBS 3 News.  A member of our staff may contact you for more information.

Share Your Images
Powered by WorldNow
    Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KTBS. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.
    Advertising | EEO Public File | KTBS 3 Public File | KPXJ 21 Public File