By ALEX MALM
When Ward 4 Councilman Jim McElroy first ran for City Council in 2017 he said that he was in favor of term limits. In November voters may have a chance to decide if term limits will be enacted for the mayor and city council.
In an interview Tuesday night McElroy said that a resolution is being drafted that would ask the General Assembly to allow the measure to be placed on the ballot.
“Now is the time to do it,” said McElroy.
McElroy said that he looked at what Cranston and Providence have in place for term limits.
Providence and Cranston both have four year terms for mayor with a maximum of two terms.
In Providence the Council has a maximum of three four year terms. In Cranston the Council has two year terms with a maximum of five terms.
McElroy proposes two four year terms for mayor and five two year terms for council members. McElroy is amenable to changing the number of years for the Council from two to four if the majority of the Council agreed.
In a statement Wednesday morning Council President Steve McAllister said “I support changing the term of Mayor to a four year term.”
“I would also support term limits on the Mayor of two, four year terms for a total of 8 years. That is what Providence and Cranston do as well. A City the size of Warwick should have a Mayor who has a four year term,” said McAllister. “I do not support changing the term for city council members. I believe the legislative branch should run for office every two years. Just as the general assembly does and members of the U.S. House of Representatives. I would also support term limits on the city council of five, two year terms. A total of 10 years on the City Council.”
The term limits would only apply to elected officials going forward meaning those serving on the council now would be allowed to serve five more terms. Mayor Frank Picozzi, if re-elected, would be allowed to serve two more terms.
Before deciding to go forward McElroy spoke to Picozzi who said he was on board.
“If he wasn’t I wouldn’t do it,” said McElroy. “I don’t want to make it a political thing. To me it’s just good government.”
On Wednesday, Liz Tufts, a spokesperson for Picozzi, said that while he hasn’t read the official proposal he is open to term limits.
If the Council approves the resolution the General Assembly will need to approve the measure for it to appear on the ballot..
If all goes to plan voters would be able to decide on the charter change in November.
“The people of Warwick will make their voices known,” said McElroy.
In the spring of 2020 Ward 5 Councilman Ed Ladouceur put forward a resolution asking the General Assembly for permission to extend the terms of councilman and the mayor from two years to four. The resolution didn’t make it to the State House.
The five- member School Committee have four-year terms. Three members serve districts comprised of three wards each. The remaining two members serve at large. State Representatives and Senators currently serve two-year terms.
McElroy expects the resolution to be heard during the April 4 Council meeting.