Are Four-Year Terms a Good Idea?

The Johnston Town Council recently approved a resolution changing the terms for the mayor's office to four-year terms — what do you think?

Presidents and governors get four-year terms — why not the Mayor of Johnston?

That's essentially the question that will go before local voters this November, after the Johnston Town Council approved a resolution asking the Rhode Island Secretary of State to include a referedum question on the 2012 ballot.

Mayor Joseph Polisena — who has served three two-year terms under the current Town Charter language — originally proposed the shift to longer terms, with a limit of two terms in office, for mayors elected beginning in 2014.

[Polisena would be eligible to run for the four-year term, if approved.]

But are four-year terms a good idea?

The editorial board of the Johnston Insider recently posted an editorial that supports the longer terms, saying that there's less corruption than in the past — which originally led people to cut the terms to two years — and that the cost of elections makes it difficult to run them every other year.

"We need to put the focus back on improving the town, instead of improving voter turnout. Four-year terms – for all public officials – is a good place to start," the editorial stated.

What do you think?

Is it time for Johnston to move to longer terms in office for the mayor, or is the current system working fine?

Here's your chance to offer an opinion — post your comments below.


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