Former Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts agrees with Kenny Smith that voters should have a say on any proposal to lengthen City Council terms.
Observer file photo
I join former Charlotte City Council member Kenny Smith, in bipartisan support, in his opinion this week
on lengthening City Council terms.
This is an issue that should go to the voters, as the Mecklenburg County commission did earlier, and should certainly not be decided by the council in the midst of their current terms.
I ask council members to imagine how they would feel if the NC General Assembly had voted to do that earlier this year, to lengthen their terms so that some of them could avoid being voted out of office this fall. It is just as dismissive of voters as other power grabs, such as gerrymandering, that voters have complained about seeing at the state and national levels.
When I served as mayor and as a county commissioner, under two-year terms, yes I found it hard to run for election so often and it would have been nice to only have to campaign every four years. But I would never have considered changing the rules in mid-term without going to the people to support it.
Voters should have a chance to weigh in on the issue and to vote for leaders knowing that their terms are longer. I join with Kenny in urging the council not to disregard the people they serve and to let democracy speak. We do not want Charlotte to be known for having leaders who do not care what the voters think.
Roberts served as mayor of Charlotte from 2015 to 2017 and was chair of the Mecklenburg County commission from 2006 to 2011.