The Gulf Breeze City Council is expected to discuss the prospect of term limits for themselves and the Mayor this week.
The proposal is to limit Council members to eight years, a pair of four-year terms, and the Mayor to four years, a couple of two-year terms. It’s the brainchild of Mayor Pro Tempore, Joe Henderson.
“When I first decided to run, it’s always been my idea to limit the time that I would serve, and give other people the opportunity to serve the public as I did,” said Henderson, who completes his second, four-year term in November and is not seeking re-election.
The idea appears to be building up steam. Henderson says he’s received support from many of his constituents. But he’s quick to add that passing the ordinance does not implement term limits, but rather, gives voters the opportunity to decide.
City Manager Buz Eddy says for now, he’s not taking sides. He concedes that there are both pros and cons to the notion of term limits, when it comes to dealing with complicated issues facing Gulf Breeze such as utility operations, transportation planning, the city’s master plan and the Community Redevelopment Agency.
“To call an end to their time on the Council, right when they’re really getting into the swing of things, is counterproductive to me,” Eddy said. “On the pro side, I guess the argument could be made that there’s a need for new ideas and new approaches to problems.”
If all goes as planned, the term limit referendum would be on the ballot this November.
Also taking a ‘wait-and-see” posture is Gulf Breeze Mayor Matt Dannheiser. He told the Pensacola News Journal that he wants to gauge public interest, before it goes to the voters.
The Gulf Breeze City Council is scheduled to meet at 6:30 Wednesday evening at City Hall on Shoreline Drive.