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North Royalton City Council nixes proposal to end term limits

September 5, 2018

North Royalton City Council nixes proposal to end term limits

NORTH ROYALTON, Ohio – City Council decided Tuesday night against asking voters in November to abolish term limits for council members and the mayor.

Councilman Dan Kasaris, who had sponsored three ordinances that would have placed the issue before voters, said the ordinances simply didn’t have enough support among council. He withdrew his sponsorship of the legislation during a committee meeting, just minutes before council’s regular Tuesday session.

“I don’t want (council) to vote on something where the issue has already been sealed,” Kasaris said at the committee meeting. “In my mind, that’s just not good government.”

Scrapping term limits in North Royalton would have required changing the city’s charter, or constitution. According to the charter, at least five of seven council members must agree to place a charter amendment on the ballot.

In August, only four council members – Kasaris, Cheryl Hannan, Gary Petrusky and Paul Marnecheck – expressed support for placing the elimination of term limits on the ballot. Council members Dan Langshaw, Larry Antoskiewicz and John Nickel opposed the idea.

On Tuesday night, Kasaris asked if any council member had changed his or her position from last month. No one spoke up.

Kasaris said the next charter review commission – which the city appoints at least every four years, as required by the charter – may want to revisit the concept of abolishing term limits in a couple of years.

Under the city charter, council members cannot hold office for more than six two-year terms, or a total of 12 years. The mayor and council president are restricted to three four-year terms, or 12 years.

According to the council clerk’s office, Kasaris, Petrusky and Nickell were first elected to council in November 2007, which means they can’t run for re-election in 2019.

Nickell said he plans to run for mayor in 2019. Kasaris said he’s weighing a run for council president, so even if term limits had been abolished, he might not have sought re-election to his council seat.

Langshaw, who was appointed to council in April 2013, was first elected by voters in November 2013. He can run for re-election three more times.

Marnecheck was first elected to council in November 2009 and was re-elected three times. He can run for re-election once more, in 2019.

Hannan was appointed to council in January 2017. She finished the term of Stephen Muller, who resigned because he left town. Her first term will end in 2019, so she can run five more times.

Antoskiewicz was first elected to council president in November 2011 and was re-elected in 2015. He can run for re-election once more in 2019. However, he said he plans to run for mayor next year.

Meanwhile, Mayor Robert Stefanik, first elected in 2007, will finish his third and final term in 2019. He said he plans to retire from public service at that time.

Term limits are not the norm in municipal government, at least in Cuyahoga County. Among the four communities along Ohio 82 in Cuyahoga County -- including Brecksville, Broadview Heights and Strongsville -- only North Royalton has term limits.

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