Panel on Tinley term limits releases report, doesn’t take sides
By Susan DeMar Lafferty firstname.lastname@example.org September 20, 2013 7:58PM
Updated: October 23, 2013 6:47AM
After researching the issue for seven months, an independent commission concluded that it is up to Tinley Park officials to decide if they want to enact term limits.
The commission, led by doctoral student Douglas Cantor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, was formed after a November 2012 nonbinding referendum in which 71 percent of voters said they favored term limits for Tinley Park officials and 28 percent opposed it.
Its goal was to determine the benefits or detriments of mandatory term limits on Tinley Park government and its quality of life. It studied the effects of term limits in smaller-scale local governments, focusing almost exclusively on those with council-manager forms of government.
The commission noted that it was “obvious that in Tinley Park negative sentiment toward government by a few individuals stimulated the term limits advisory referendum.” It further noted that in the following April election, voters decided to keep Mayor Ed Zabrocki and the incumbent trustees.
The seven-member panel said it could not make a full recommendation on this issue, but its 70-plus page report should “provide good guidance” to the board on how to implement term limits, if it so chooses.
If the village decides to adopt limits, the panel suggested three terms of four years each.
The commission also concluded:
If term limits are enacted, they should provide for flexibility in case they fail to serve the village. Once enacted, term limits are difficult to change.
While term limits do bring out more candidates, they do not guarantee a more effective or more efficient government.
Term limits should be implemented only for the sole purpose of creating more efficient government.
There was no evidence that term limits had a direct effect on voter turnout, government spending or on changes in the operation of the local community.
It found no evidence of abuse of power or corruption in Tinley Park’s government.
One commissioner, Neil Finerty, disagreed with the majority, and noted that in a council-manager form of government with a strong staff, like Tinley Park, the benefits of term limits “would probabilistically outweigh the detriments.”