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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Aug. 23, 201709:11 AM EST

Council rejects bill to extend term limits

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Council member Tommy Hazouri called the legislation “self-serving.”
by: David Cawton Staff Writer

A bill that proposed to extend term limits for some Jacksonville elected officials failed during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Council member Matt Schellenberg’s proposed ordinance, 2017-378, would have extended the current two-term limit in the City Charter to three.

Constitutional officers including council members, the sheriff, the supervisor of elections, property appraiser, tax collector, clerk of courts and Duval County School Board members would have been included in the legislation.

The bill failed 6-11 after a lengthy discussion following months of debate.

Council President Anna Lopez Brosche and council members Katrina Brown, Reginald Brown, Garrett Dennis and Al Ferraro supported the bill.

It’s the second attempt by Schellenberg to adjust term limits.

Katrina Brown and Ferraro suggested a voter referendum, but council members did not move an amendment for that.

Council member Tommy Hazouri called the legislation “self-serving” and offered an amendment to exclude anyone currently in office. He also opposed the idea of a referendum, saying that taxpayers decided when they voted in 1991 to approve a two-term limit.

Council member John Crescimbeni warned potential supporters that extending term limits would not sit well with taxpayers.

Reginald Brown scoffed at the term “self-serving,” saying there was no guarantee of a third term.   

“If you don’t do your job, you’ll be voted out,” he said. He also cited Florida counties that don’t have term limits, saying elected officials there had more institutional knowledge.

Schellenberg, nearing the end of his second term in office, echoed those ideas, saying that an extra four years in office wouldn’t preclude incumbents from being replaced and that a lack of institutional knowledge was hurting the city.

“Council President Brosche is here because she beat an incumbent,” he said. “Our mayor beat an incumbent.”

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