Blythewood Town Council nixes term limit ordinance

BLYTHEWOOD – With three votes for and two abstentions, council voted Monday night to repeal an ordinance passed in 2014 that established term limits of two consecutive four-year terms on town council members and the mayor.

Voting to repeal the ordinance were Councilman Eddie Baugman who has one more year to serve on his second full term on council and the only member of council who could be effected by the repeal in the next election; Councilman Rich McKenrick; and Mayor Bryan Franklin. Councilmen Donald Brock and Sloan Griffin abstained.

Commenting on the proposed ordinance to repeal, Town Administrator Carroll Williamson stated that the S.C. Attorney General’s office had stated in a 2010 opinion that only the general assembly has the power to establish term limits.

However, Tom Utroska, who was a councilman in 2014, and voted for term limits, noted that the establishment of term limits was something the town’s constituents had asked for.

Utroska and two other councilmen at the time, Bob Mangon and Bob Massa, voted for the term limit ordinance. Councilman Eddie Baughman and former Mayor Mike Ross voted against term limits.

But the ordinance was never signed.

During discussion of the repeal, Baughman said the ordinance to limit terms was never signed or codified.

“The best thing to do is to repeal it because it just muddies the waters,” Baughman said.

“What are we actually repealing?” Brock asked. “Are we repealing an actual ordinance or are we repealing an action taken by council that was never fully codified? If it was never signed or codified, is it really an ordinance?”

Ed Garrison, a former town councilman spoke to the issue.

“I remind myself that the Attorney General has rendered an opinion. He didn’t say it was right or wrong. It was an opinion. Some follow his opinion. Some ignore it,” Garrison said. “Whatever this council does I would support it. But I think term limits are something that should be assessed. I think a rotation on your council brings fresh ideas and new opportunities and enlightenment in terms that people don’t camp out in these positions more than two terms.

“I would recommend that you come up with some kind of solution that would encourage council members to serve two terms, then move on,” Garrison said.

Baughman, Franklin and McKenrick voted to repeal the term limit ordinance. Brock and Griffin abstained.

Comments

  1. Jeff Greenlaw says

    Never mind calling it something the voters “asked for”….put it on the ballot and, if the support is there, call it want the voters “demand”. Voters “asking” for term limits should not be confused with simply being voters’ “opinion”. Either they want it or they don’t. Put it to a public vote and find out what the voters decide. If term limits are what the voters want, then quit calling it an “ask” or “opinion”.

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