Skip to main content
Longboat Key Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2009 8 years ago

Term limit rules questioned

by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

Mayor Lee Rothenberg may not have to step down in March after all.

If a proposal by Vice Mayor Robert Siekmann receives positive reviews by his fellow commissioners at the Thursday, Nov. 19 regular workshop, Rothenberg may be allowed to run for another two-year term.

Siekmann’s proposal stems from a resolution that the commission adopted in 2006.

The resolution allowed Commissioner Peter O’Connor to finish out two months of a partial term without affecting his ability to run for three consecutive two-year terms once his partial term ended.

Town Attorney David Persson crafted the resolution after O’Connor expressed a desire to fill the partial term as long as it didn’t count against his future full terms.

The resolution also allowed Commissioner George Spoll, who served three months of a partial term starting in December 2004, to serve three, consecutive terms that will expire in March 2011.

But Rothenberg served a partial term before the resolution was adopted.

The mayor served a partial term starting in October 2004 and then was forced to run for his District 1 seat in March 2005 for the remainder of the term that only had one year left. And Rothenberg had to run again for his seat in March 2006. Therefore, Rothenberg will have lost five months of service when he steps down in March because of term-limit rules.

Spoll and O’Connor, meanwhile, were able to serve three consecutive two-year terms (if O’Connor is re-elected in March), plus whatever length of time they were appointed for a partial term.

Siekmann would like the resolution to be amended, allowing commissioners to serve the remainder of a partial term and still be eligible for three consecutive two-year terms once the partial term expires.

Siekmann believes amending the resolution would possibly entice newcomers who would come forward to fill partial terms in the future if commissioners resign.

“Every commissioner should have the right to three consecutive two-year terms,” Siekmann said. “We should encourage people to accept appointments by letting them know they won’t be a lame duck that will have to run for their existing seat in less than a year’s time.”

Rothenberg, who could not be reached for comment, has not made it known whether he would consider running for an additional term if the resolution were amended.

Meanwhile, O’Connor and Spoll were not in favor of Siekmann’s suggestion.

O’Connor said he would consider the proposal if it were brought to the commission’s attention.

“But I’m not sure if I would be supportive of that,” O’Connor said.

Spoll refuted the suggestion altogether.

“The present policy is perfectly appropriate,” Spoll said.

Related Stories