Thursday, June 27, 2019
Home News Boston Council members want to extend their own terms

Boston Council members want to extend their own terms

The Boston City Council extends the term of the council from two to four years.

The council voted 11: 2 on Wednesday to approve a home rule petition. The bill must be approved by the legislator.

The Council also approved a home rule petition to prematurely elect the municipal elections in Boston. A recently passed third electoral law, which would have required a special election if a council seat was vacant in the meantime, was not put to the vote.

The President of the Council, Andrea Campbell, a sponsor of all three measures, has argued that the current election cycle of two years is inefficient and expensive, and that extending terms on mayoral elections would save taxpayer savings.

Councilor Matt O & M Malley said Wednesday that city councilman Matt O & M Malley said the four-year terms would also strengthen the council, the city's legislature, and a review of the mayor's executive agency as a corporation.

But two councilors, Josh Zakim and Michelle Wu, voted no.

Wu said four-year terms would keep political newcomers off track, arguing that two-year terms in recent years have led to a more diverse council with more new faces.

"The current composition of this council is due to the possibility of challenging new people every two years and involving them in the process," Wu said.

"So we would effectively reduce half the chances that people could challenge," she said.

Wu also argued that longer maturities would give established operators an even greater advantage in fundraising against challengers than they already enjoy. Wu found that unlike campaign financing limits in the US Congress, Massachusetts political donations are limited by calendar year, but not by election cycle.

The third Bill, which Campbell had recently introduced and had special elections for vacant seats in the Council, was withdrawn from the Council's agenda – a mixture of surly satisfaction and new frustration among Council members.

The four large seats of the council are awarded to the four highest voters in this race. Under current law, a seat vacant in the middle of a term of office is automatically addressed to all persons who receive the next votes among the unoccupied candidates. In the last local elections in Boston this was the long-time candidate Althea Garrison, who became the newest member of the City Council in January and the vacant seat of the now represented Rep. Ayanna Pressley.

Garrison rose against this new proposal when it was first introduced, and on Wednesday city councilor Frank Baker supported Garrison.

"I think a poll is for a vote against my colleague Althea Garrison," Baker said.

Those who voted in favor of the measure offered the option of increasing turnout even if they voted to halve the number of council elections by doubling the election.

This is not the first time that council members have tried to extend their own provisions: the council passed a similar measure in 2016, but like many other home settlement requests from Boston, he died without a lawsuit in the state legislature. Wu was the only council member to vote "No" on this bill.

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