To the editor:
A proposal that I introduced for term limits for all Warren board, commission and council members got a cool reception from most Warren Town Council members at our recent meeting. Even though last year the town council mandated that all board members must re-apply for each term, statistically they will be reappointed indefinitely if they continue to express interest in serving. Independent councilor Scott Lial did suggest that we should at least look at creating term limits for the town council.
The discussion centered around whether term limits would encourage or discourage volunteers from serving on various town boards and commissions. I believe it would encourage more residents to volunteer, knowing that every position would eventually open up. I feel that serving for 10 to 12 years on any board, council or commission is sufficient to introduce and implement ideas. As in other locations, any member who completed the number of terms would be allowed to re-apply after skipping one term.
From the President of the United States to the Governor of Rhode Island, to the Cranston City Council, term limits are not a new idea, and have not been shown to discourage citizens from participating in their government. Creating term limits for town boards would need an amendment to the Town Charter, and term limits for the planning and zoning boards would need an amendment to state legislation, neither of which are insurmountable.
One good idea was presented by Ray Palmieri, Warren’s most recent appointee to the Bristol County Water Authority. Ray was involved in recommending term limits for all nine BCWA board members, which was just approved unanimously by the Barrington, Warren and Bristol town councils and should soon pass the state legislature. He suggested that the town should be more aggressive in marketing open positions, besides the standard newspaper or website notices, and include a description of the position’s activities and responsibilities, which I also support. If you believe term limits are a good idea for Warren, please let your elected officials know.
53 State St.