There’s been a lot of discussion, of late, on the pages of this newspaper — all in letters to the editor — as to whether municipal elected officials should be subject to term limits.
Having given it substantial thought, we believe the time is right for such a discussion.
We live in a region where at one point, Frank E. Rodgers, the late-former mayor of Harrison, held a record as the longest-serving mayor in the history in the United States of America at nearly 50 years.
And though that record has since been broken — and exceeded by a lot of years (a former Texas mayor led for 63+ years) — there’s no doubt people in this area are keenly aware of mayoralties that have gone on for long periods of time.
In Kearny, Mayor Alberto G. Santos has served since he first won a 2-year term against Republican John Leadbeater back in 1999 and he is not too far away from reaching half of Rodgers’s longevity.
After he took office in 2000 — and it became clear he had an open lane to keeping his seat as long as he desired — Santos and his colleagues changed the mayoral and council terms from 2 years to 4 years. And that’s fine given how fast a turnaround a 2-year term truly is election-wise.
Just ask any member of Congress.
But when it’s 4-year term after term after term after term, it’s possible — and probable — in general terms, that one person could get stale. One person could get too complacent. One person could get too dictatorial.
And term limits, frankly, would fix that.
So the time to ensure no one person can spend a lifetime in a single position of authority is here.
Term limits are needed. Not just on a local level, either — they’re needed for almost all offices, including and especially for Congress.
Though as much as we encourage them, we’re fairly certain we’ll never see term limits. Because we know few currently sitting on a dais anywhere would be ready to cede the power, the prestige.
But if ever there was a time for it, it’s now.
Learn more about the writer ...
Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.