Should Local Elected Officials Have Term Limits?

Tinley Park voters will voice whether the village should impose local term limits in a November referendum. Should your town consider term limits in the future?

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! 

. 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? 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.

Moonglow August 16, 2012 at 02:03 PM
ALL political positions should be 4 yrs only.......including President. If things can't be done in 4 years, then get some new blood into the positions!
JR August 16, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Term limits are a good thing. I know that we are talking about local positions here, but the stranglehold that Madigan has had on the Illinois General Assembly for years is a compelling argument for term limits. I don't know about 4 years as Monnglow suggests, but I think 2 elected terms is enough for any elected politician in any office.
John August 16, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Yes to term limits for ALL elected government positions. I agree with a two term max, but would be open to 3-4.
Chronicles of Bob August 16, 2012 at 04:43 PM
IMO term limits, though may help, are not the problem. The problem(s) are the "incentives" that come along with being an elected official. These incentives automatically create a major conflict when paying these "incentives" back. As long as they can be influenced by out side forces the term limits mean nothing. What does a term limit do when an elected official votes among party lines even though what they are voting for may be good/bad for their people?
Ed August 16, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Elections are term limiters. If you don't like the encumbents go vote. Nobody in TInley Park votes. The turnouts are ridiculously low. Only friends and family of the mayor and trustees vote, abd guess who they vote for?
John August 16, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Yes outside forces are always the evil, the evil that is impossible to eliminate.
JR August 16, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Many municipal elections are on dates that do not coincide with state or federal election. This is by design; the incumbents want low voter turnouts to help their chances of being re-elected.
OakLawnGuy August 16, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Tough call, since political machinery is often built behind the scenes, but I'd go for term limits. Ed's point of using the voting both to limit those you don't care for is right on.
CAJ August 16, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Yes, I believe term limits are good for all elected officials. However, a case could be made that it would be unwise to remove an elected official who is doing a good job. But this is Illinois, so I don't think we can say that any of our elected officals - local, state or federal - are doing a good job, can we?
Jose Madrigal August 17, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Term limits or not, the major problem is an honest, caring, morale person will never run for an elected office. So, we'll always be stuck with elected officials and their personal agendas.
Disgusted R August 17, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Really? Then why don't you run you d-bag? You have thousands of elected officials who try their best. Sure, there will be some like the Madigans and Daleys but they are not the majority
Rock Bobster August 17, 2012 at 04:09 PM
ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE! Just about every local election has people as you described running. The problem is that voters don't seek them out to vote for them, and they can't get enough money to bombard you with mailed material. For years I was an advocate for taxpayers and the people of the community and ran regularly for school boards. Those who complained the loudest about taxes and government waste wouldn't even bother to vote for the candidates that could've done something about the problems. Time after time, voters elect candidates based upon their race, ethnicity, and party affiliation, NOT how much good they can do for their community. The fault is not in the stars, my friend, but in ourselves.
BEATING JJN AT NFL PICKS August 17, 2012 at 04:43 PM
It's not as easy as just voting better people in. Government is like a piece of crap car. You can replace parts of a piece of crap car, but at the end of the day you still have a piece of crap car! Placing a number of consecutive term limits on congress officals like the president has would be a step in the right direction.
Jeremy Kuszciak August 17, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Term limits won't eliminate corruption, but it will spread it around so many can have an opportunity to suck on the teat of evil. It would reduce many of the 'cozy' relationships some officials have with certain contractors and groups.
Jeremy Kuszciak August 17, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Maybe we ought to junk 'er and try a shiny new model ?
The Guru August 19, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Maybe they can call it the Zabrocki limit..... everything else in this town is named after the mayor.
June Whitehand August 23, 2012 at 03:31 PM
When you have someone in an office for 15-20 years, there is no option for speaking out. If you run against them you are putting your lively hood and children's prospects in the community at risk. So---YES to term limits.
eric nelson August 24, 2012 at 07:02 PM
I thoroughly belief in limited terms for any civil or federal appointee it's bad enough that they have their unions which only enhances their oblivious outlook towards any needs of their respective communities and it's members. Eric Nelson
Dianna August 26, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Yes to term limits.
BUTCH September 14, 2012 at 03:30 PM
term limits yes one term no term for any Mormon wearing a yarmulke at a wailing wall or supersessionism Fundy nor the celebrity preachers climate deniers and everyone on the payroll of EXXON and HELLIBURTON and the poisonous coal lobby
Dean Casper September 14, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Religious bigotry should have no place on Patch
BUTCH September 14, 2012 at 05:05 PM
I am a believer in the constitution and in Benjamin Franklin ideas and idealism there should be no store front tax exempt churches, PREDATOR PRIESTS and their disgusting BISHOPS paying hush money and blessing the TPARTY nor extortionist celebrity preachers or a cultist MISSIONARY BISHOP who wants to be COMMANDER in CHIEF while wearing magical and sacred underwear I think it should be on every network and news outlet. this guy should be CIC on some planet other than earth
BUTCH September 15, 2012 at 04:39 AM
The Bishop Missionary who was prostelyzing to the decadent Christians in France during the Viet War had a Mormon moment in Tampa how do these PTSD or no combat Legion old men even invite him to their convention the same way that all u middle class that are making 200,000 -250,000 a year he is not out of touch u wannabe 1% are


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