Mayors are seen as public servants elected to office to represent the people in their municipality. The length of a mayor’s term is usually determined by the laws of the state or country they serve in and can vary significantly. In this blog post, we will look at what determines whether or not a mayor has term limits and some of the implications this has for democracy.
How long the Mayor can be Elected for?
Some laws state that “the term of office of a Mayor is four (4) years and until a successor has been elected and qualified” [Source]. The most popular mayoral term is four years.
Can Mayors be Re-Elected?
A mayor can be re-elected. Wikipedia notes that “The mayor can be re-elected and manage the city for two consecutive terms” [Source], but this also depends on a state or city’s laws.
Relevant Laws regarding Term Limits
Section 2-1 of the Council; Legislative Authority Vested In, Election, Term, Term Limits notes that “The City’s legislative authority shall be vested in and exercised by the City Council. The electors shall elect its members as provided in this Charter for a term of four (4) years and until their successors have been elected and qualified” [Source].
This section also states that “Effective January 1, 2020, no Council member shall serve more than three (3) consecutive four (4) year terms”. Also, “After serving the maximum number of terms, no Council member may serve in the same office unless the Council member has been out of office for no less than two (2) years”.
The Purpose of a Term Limit
Terms limits are vital in reducing potential abuses of power by leaders who overstay in office [Source]. Also, such limits enable some leaders to give up power whether they like it or not, thus reducing the possibility of dictatorship in government offices. Term limits promote the reshuffling of leaders, which enhances chances of having good leaders replacing bad ones. Because of term limits, political participation increases as every politician can aim to be a leader. Some leaders tend to ignore their responsibilities, and a term limit will fix the situation by bringing in a new person. More so, changing leadership is effective since it brings in innovative thinking. A leader is compelled to excel during the first term to prove to the voters that they deserve re-election, so a term limit encourages commitment to one’s employment.
Can Term Limits be changed?
In most countries, term limits are penned in a nation’s constitution or laws of a state and city. Because they are laws that would have been voted in by policymakers and relevant authorities, it is hard to change term limits overnight. However, amendments can be made to change these laws, and bills can be passed [Source], so term limits can be changed through the legal channels unless there is a dictatorship system that tells people what to do.
How many Terms can a Mayor serve in Buffalo, NY?
Under New York laws, “the mayor is limited to two consecutive four-year terms in office but may run again after a four-year break. The limit on consecutive terms was changed from two to three on October 23, 2008, when the New York City Council voted 29-22 in favor of passing the term limit extension into law” [Source].
How many Terms can a Mayor serve in Mississippi?
Mississippi embarked on a new initiative to restrict the office terms of public office. This initiative stated that “No person elected or appointed to any public office of this state, or any political subdivision thereof shall be eligible to serve in that office more than two terms in succession. At least fifty percent of one term to which another person was elected shall count as one term. This section shall take effect January 1, 2011L” [Source].
How many Terms can a Mayor serve in Ohio?
“Under Ohio state law, mayors serve four-year terms, and each term begins on Jan. 1 of the year following the election” [Source].
Detroit Mayor Term Limits
There are no term limits for a mayor in Detroit [Source].
Mayor Term Limits California
“The officeholder is elected for a four-year term and limited to serving no more than two terms” [Source].
Cities without Term Limits for Mayors
Cities without term limits for mayors include Baltimore, Maryland; Charlotte, North Carolina; Chicago, Illinois, Columbus, Detroit, Michigan, Fort Worth, Texas and Indianapolis, Indiana [Source].
Longest-serving mayors include Hilmar Moore of Richmond, Texas, who served for 63 years and 73 days, followed by John H. Land of Apopka and Florida, who served for 61 years and 111 days [Source].
There is also Charles E. Long of Booneville, Kentucky, who was in office for 60 years.
Robert Linn, Bruce Arnold, Paul Jurko, Robert Butler, Gerald Calabrese, John M Coyne, Donald Stephens, Leonard T. Connors, Leonard Scarcella served for 50 years.