UPPER MARLBORO – The Prince George’s County Council has voted to amend the county charter to increase term limits for council members and the county executive from two to three terms, but county residents are promising a fight against the proposed change when it goes to the ballot in November.
“Many residents are not in favor of the term limit,” said Angela Holmes, president and community developer for Citizens Encouraging Community Revitalization, who spoke at last week’s council meeting. “What do the county council and the county executive seek to accomplish with the additional term?”
The council passed the amendment unanimously—9-0 and will move forward to the ballot for county voters to vote on in the Nov. 5 election.
Some council members argued the amendment is necessary to keep the county competitive with other counties fighting for resources. Extended term limits will help with continuity, Councilwoman Andrea Harrison said.
“Because of [term limits,] we’re always starting over,” Harrison said. “We’re always starting at ground zero, once again, all over again.”
Maryland counties in the Washington Metro region, including Charles, Calvert, Frederick and Montgomery Counties, do not have term limits.
Charles County voters are faced with a vote in November that would create a charter establishing term limits, reported Joseph Norris for The Bay Net.
Councilwoman Mary Lehman and Councilman Derrick Davis agreed with Harrison.
“I think there is a strong case to be made that eight years is not enough to do what we want to do here,” Lehman said.
Fort Washington resident Sarah Cavitt said she thought the council’s argument was flimsy and terms limits are not a disadvantage. Instead, she said if council members cannot get things done in eight years they should not be sitting on the council.
“I don’t believe that all of you as energetic, enthusiastic adults need more than four years of a learning curve to begin to implement changes,” Cavitt said.
“There is always a discussion about, if someone is really good, why should we replace them?” Cavitt asked council. “Who is to say the next person may not be any better?”
Holmes agreed, saying she fears career politicians
“Some people who are in office, we won’t be able to get them out,” Holmes said.
Cavitt said the charter amendment also lacks other details.
“I don’t see where it protects citizens’ rights to recall council members,” she said. “It does not give us any protections about removing a representative.”
Holmes said she will hold a press conference in August in regards to the charter amendment.
“We are going in front of people before it goes to the ballot so we can get educated voters to the polls,” Cavitt said. “I hope citizens vote it down.”