Cincinnati City Councilman Charlie Winburn introduced an alternative election plan for city council in reaction to a proposal for two 4-year terms.
Winburn's plan limits council members to one 5-year term.
The "one strike and you are out" styled plan allows council members and the mayor to serve one 5-year term before requiring a five year hiatus from office. Council members and the mayor can run for each other's office during this period off.
"I felt that we should have another proposal on the table so council can make the most effective decision," Winburn says.
Winburn gives nine reasons why the plan would work. First, he says election costs would be reduced by increasing the time between elections. He says campaign costs every ten years would be less than the campaign costs every four years the two 4-year term plan calls for. Additionally, there would be no contribution caps under the Winburn 5-year term Plan.
The plan would provide for more election accountability. Monitoring election reports every five years would be more manageable and save taxpayer money, Winburn says.
The proposed plan would stop election and political games. "A five-year term council member would not spend precious time attempting to capture media or voter attention every two years," Winburn says. He says the plan would stop council bickering.
Winburn calls the plan unique and creative because it eliminates political entrenchment.
"Why not come in for four or five years, serve your time and leave and let some other new blood come in with new ideas and creativity?" he says.
The plan reduces the number of consecutive years that can be served and includes a recall provision the two 4-year term plan does not. If a council member fails to do their job, they can be ousted. Additionally, without any overlap, city council would be a new group every five years.
He says one 5-year term would be $189,000 less in salaries than the two 4-year term plan. It would also get rid of the extra three years the two 4-year term plan includes.
"It is not about us," Winburn says. "This is not about city council members, because if it was about Charlie Winburn I wouldn't propose this and that's the problem with city council now."
The plan would set clear city goals and lead to better decisions. The first three to six months of the new council would be spent organizing a mayor-council leadership agenda. With more time, Winburn says, decisions could be considered more carefully.
Winburn says under the plan, city progress would be more visible and provide greater stability.
He also says there would be more experienced leadership with the mayor and council members able to run for each other's positions in their five year period off.
Winburn says he does support a two 4-year term model, but thinks a 5-year term plan is better. He also notes the 5-year term can be changed to a shorter term if five years seems too long.
"What this proposal does is challenge the very heart of every city council member. They must decide is it about the citizens of Cincinnati or is it about me?" Winburn says.