Should term limits be scrapped in Des Plaines? Voters will decide
Des Plaines voters will decide in November whether to end term limits for most of the city's elected officials.
The proposal, approved Monday night, originally would have asked voters to decide the matter for the mayor, eight aldermen and the village clerk. But during debate Monday, Mayor Andrew Goczkowski suggested two-term limits for his position remain, and the council obliged.
"Two terms is just fine," Goczkowski said.
The question will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot. Third Ward Alderman Sean Oskerka said he favored putting the question to voters then because turnout should be higher than during the spring 2023 local election. No one disagreed.
There was disagreement when it came to the actual vote Monday, however. Seventh Ward Alderman Patsy Smith opposed the proposal; the other five aldermen who were present supported it.
Aldermen Artur Zadrozny of the 4th Ward and Carla Brookman of the 5th were absent.
Des Plaines' elected officials have been held to two consecutive terms since voters approved limits in 1998. Oskerka noted the community has changed since then.
"Let's see if it's what the new generation living here wants or doesn't want," he said.
Alderman Malcolm Chester, who is in his second consecutive term representing the 6th Ward, rankled some audience members when he said limits eliminate officials' public accountability because they can't be voted out if they make unpopular decisions.
Unlike the U.S. president's two-term limit, Des Plaines' limits don't stop a two-term official from running again after a break.
A few audience members spoke in favor of retaining term limits. One who did so also said the loophole that allows someone to serve more than two terms should be eliminated.
Term limits are rare in the suburbs. Rolling Meadows has limited elected service since the 1990s; Naperville voters approved term limits in 2010.