Green Bay council lets voters decide on term limits

Posted: 10:25 PM, Aug 21, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-21 23:25:18-04

Voters in Green Bay are likely to see a term limit question on their ballots this November after a common council vote Tuesday.

Mayor Jim Schmidt cast the deciding vote on the referendum after councilors split their votes in a six to six tie.

Board members had a lengthy back-and-forth on the issue Tuesday.

Those supporting the referendum said that it should be up to the voters to make the decision.

However, those opposed argued that this is a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. They said term limits already essentially exist for elected officials.

"I think term limits are undemocratic," Alderman Chris Wery said. "It's telling people who they can't vote for, and as we've seen with our city council, 10 of the 12 people are fairly new, less than 6 years of experience. So it happens naturally."

"I think for us to argue that we shouldn't give voters and option whether they want to see municipal term limits on their elected officials, that's just contrary to what we're talking about right now," Alderman Brian Johnson said.

After the vote, Wery had a testy conversation with the mayor. Wery said he plans to challenge his deciding vote.

Barring any changes, the voters will get the last say on the issue.

The term limits from the referendum would start next year, meaning current councilors, the mayor, and judge would be able to serve 12 more years starting in 2019.