Should Rockville City Council Terms be 2 years or 4 years?

By Helen Triolo, last updated 9/22/13 12:00am

Photo credit Helen Triolo, Local First Media  

Should Rockville City Council terms be increased to 4 years? Should they be held at the same time as presidential elections? Are 4 council members enough, or should there be 6? In 2012, the City of Rockville appointed a commission, headed by former Rockville Mayor Steve Van Grack, to review the City's charter, which specifies election laws and procedures such as these, and recommend any needed changes to that charter. After months of review, the commission recommended three changes to the Charter, which will be on the November ballot. Results of the vote will be used as an "advisory" gauge of public opinion, to be used by the mayor and council in making a final decision of passage or rejection of each recommendation.

In March 2013, Rockville Community Coalition held a debate on the pros and cons of each recommendation made by the Charter Review Commission, to educate the public on the considerations that went into making each recommendation. We videotaped the debate and have included here the debate and discussion of the first recommendation -- that council term limits be extended from the current two years to four years.

In the debate, former Rockville Mayor Rose Krasnow argued in favor of the recommendation, saying that a 4-year term would reduce costs, a 2-year term is too short for councilmembers to acquire enough understanding to be effective, and City staff would be better served by having longer term councilmembers, among other arguments. Charles Littlefield, a member of the Charter Review Commission, argued against the recommendation, saying that shorter terms allow voters to exercise their voting power more frequently, cause people to pay more attention to local issues, and bring greater accountability and responsiveness from the elected officials. Here's the whole debate (and discussion afterwards):

Debate (13 min)



Rose Krasnow, Charles Littlefield, moderator Cheryl Kagan




Discussion (15 min)



Rose Krasnow, Charles Littlefield, Joseph Bradley, Bob Wright, David Smith, John Hall, Walter McKee, moderator Cheryl Kagan




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