Sedalia City Council is considering whether to extend Council members' terms from two years to four years.

A 13-minute discussion was held Monday night to gather current Council members' thoughts on the matter. A vote of 6 yes, 2 no was ultimately recorded at the end of the discussion to put an ordinance together. Citizens may get the chance to vote on the change April 2.

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City Attorney Todd Smith noted that the change would not be retroactive. In other words, current Council members would finish out their two-year term before running again for a four-year term.

First Ward Councilman Jack Robinson and Fourth Ward Councilman Steve Bloess voted no.

“I'm not for it. Working on this (Council) is not a cumulative knowledge. You have an opinion about what's happening at the time, and you express it. And I don't think being on (Council) for twice as long helps. Now, that said, if you want to be on (Council) for four years, then you run again. That's the option, and if you are doing a good job, you're elected, if you're not, then you're not,” Robinson said.

“I'm opposed to it right now. If we put it to a vote, the people have a chance to choose,” Bloess said. “We are at a point now, where we vote for people every two years, that is similar to a term limit type situation… so right now I don't think it's a good idea.”

Third Ward Councilman Bob Hiller said “Let the people decide. If not, we'll stay with the two years. Let's give them an opportunity to say yea and nay,” adding that he has gathered 36 names on a petition wanting him to run for office again. Hiller was appointed to the position by Mayor Andrew Dawson a little over a year ago, filling the unexpired term of Lucas Richardson.

“The first year-and-a-half, you learn your job,” Hiller commented. “I talked to my people in my ward, and they said they would be in favir of that.”

Fourth Ward Councilwoman and Mayor Pro Tem Rhiannon Foster said “I'm on the fence about it. I see pros and cons either way you look at it. I think two years keeps Council members more connected and accountable, because you are forced to stay in contact. If you are doing your job as you should, you should always be in contact. But that's not always the case,” Foster said. “ I think it might be interesting to see what the voters want, because that's who we work for.”

Third Ward Councilman Bob Cross said that a two-year term is “just too short” and thinks that more people would be interested in running if a four-year term were available. Cross pointed out that the mayor of Sedalia serves a four-year term and the president of the US serves a four-year term, “so why not us?”

First Ward Councilman Tom Oldham noted how efficient and flexible Sedalia City Council is, and how an issue can be resolved at the very next meeting.

Second Ward Councilwoman Tina Boggess said she is in favor of a four-year term. She made the motion to “put together an ordinance, put it on the ballot, and let the people's voice be heard.” She added that it would be better for the cohesiveness of the council, and for everyone to be on the same page, adding that the mayor's term is four years. “You need that extra time of four years,” she said.

City Administrator pointed out that Sedalia, a third-class municipality, is the largest non-charter city in Missouri. “This is a purely policy position for you all to decide,” he told Council.

4-year Term Discussion

Gallery Credit: Randy Kirby

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