Every four years we have a chance to hit the ballot box and cast a referendum on certain candidates in office. Have they done a good enough job during the last term to warrant re-election?
But term limits can change that process entirely, presenting new candidates and pushing out existing officials. Voters in Tinley Park will have the chance in November to vote on whether elected officials in the village should face term limits in the future.
Should your town have term limits? VOTE in the poll below!
Attorney Steve Eberhardt filed the petition in Tinley Park after collecting 1,900 signatures. He said he got the idea after noticing the Village Board's "lack of interest" in residents' complaints in 2010.
The question doesn’t specify how many terms officials should be limited to, but Eberhardt said he personally feels two terms is enough.
After Franklin Roosevelt broke George Washington's tradition and served 3+ terms, Congress ratified the 22nd Amendment to limit the president to two four-year terms.
Should that be the case locally? Tinley Park Mayor Ed Zabrocki, who has been in office since 1981, said elections are natural term limits for officials who aren’t doing their jobs.
“It’s incumbent on elected officials to do a good job,” he said. “Turnout at municipal elections is very small, so it doesn’t take a lot of votes to make a difference in a local election.
“Term limits limit a person’s democratic process by denying them the opportunity to vote for someone,” he said.
There are inherent advantages for incumbents when it comes to getting elected. They often have greater visibility and experience running a campaign; the re-election rate for incumbents is generally through the roof.
But municipal term limits are very rare. Philadelphia and New York have them, for example, but few others do.
Besides limiting a person's democratic process, as Zabrocki said term limits can do, residents run the risk of losing institutional knowledge and insight that some long-standing board members have.
On a local level, are term limits worth it? Or can residents rely on voting someone out of office when they don't like the job he or she is doing?
—Bob Bong contributed to this article.