If you haven’t been paying attention to Hendersonville city government, now would be the time.
After all, many of the day-to-day functions we all take for granted are dictated by what happens at City Hall: Whether our trash is picked up once or twice a week – or at all; whether or not our leaves and limbs are picked up in a timely manner; whether our commute to work is a bumpy or smooth one – or painstakingly long because promised fixes like synchronizing traffic lights never come to fruition.
If you’ve been to a city meeting lately, read news reports like ours, or (heaven forbid) waded through the often one-sided, rancorous social media posts, you know just how politically divided our city is.
Just last week the Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to appoint an interim city administrator to handle many of the day-to-day operations of the city like overseeing department heads and preparing a $50M fiscal year budget. Until now, the city’s elected mayor has handled those responsibilities.
While the position is expected to be filled permanently by mid-2020, a temporary appointee starts next week.
But Tuesday, Dec. 10 could be a historic day for Hendersonville in more ways than one.
While a new person will take charge at City Hall that day, board members will consider another move that could change the city’s political landscape that night.
That’s when they’ll vote to consider a resolution asking state lawmakers to amend the city’s charter to allow for a referendum on term limits.
Many have raised the issue over the years of limiting the number of terms the mayor and/or aldermen could seek, but until now no one has proposed a way to make that happen.
Leaders must first ask the state to change the charter. Once that’s approved, BOMA will vote on the actual legislation. If that passes, voters will be able to decide for themselves in a citywide election next November.
Arguments can be made both for and against limiting the number of terms elected officials can serve. We’ve already heard why some aldermen oppose term limits – arguments like the loss of institutional knowledge, and the fear that viable candidates won’t step up.
We have our own take as well.
Eight or 12 years is plenty of time for one to make a positive impact on his or her community as an elected official. And if ever there was a poster child in desperate need of fresh perspectives not mired by political back stories, it’s Hendersonville.
But now is not the time to discuss the merits of term limits. Now is the time to open the door to that discussion. We urge the board to vote yes on Resolution 2019-60 to begin that conversation.
The Main Street Media editorial board is comprised of Publisher Dave Gould, News Editor Sherry Mitchell and reporters Tena Lee and Josh Cross.