After two delays, Oak Lawn officials
may green light a term limit referendum
Terms limits for elected officials in Oak Lawn likely will be discussed at Tuesday’s village board meeting.
Trustees must vote before the end of the year on a proposal to place a term limits referendum on the March 2014 ballot.
The board’s Dec. 24 meeting has been cancelled, making Tuesday’s meeting the final gathering for 2013.
The board has twice delayed action on the measure, most recently because it did not want to proceed without Village Clerk Jane Quinlan being present at the meeting.
The mayor, village clerk and six trustees would be limited to three consecutive terms of office if voters approved the referendum question in March.
Village officials serve four-year terms. Term limits would take effect following the 2015 elections, if approved.
Trustee Robert Streit is the longest serving member of the board, having been elected in 1991. Trustee Alex Olejniczak and Jane Quinlan are in their third terms. Trustee Carol Quinlan is serving her second term.
Mayor Sandra Bury and the remaining three trustees were elected in April when Bury ousted Dave Heilmann, who served for eight years. Term limit opponents argue that the April election is proof that term limits are not necessary.
But Bury has said she’s “very committed” to setting term limits and directed the legislative license and ethics committee to recommend what the term limits should be.
The mayor said term limits would keep the village board “fresh.”
“New people bring in new ideas,” Bury told The Reporter shortly after she was elected. “When village trustees know they have a time frame, then they know they have four years or eight years or a certain amount of time to get things done. Without term limits, we have people who have been in office for so long, they either sit there and do nothing, or work the system so well that there is a potential for conduct that is inappropriate and can take advantage of their position.”
Only a handful of Illinois communities, none in the southwest suburbs, have terms limits.
Tinley Park voters last November passed a referendum asking whether the village board should establish term limits for elected officials.
The board formed a seven-member term limits committee that investigated whether term limits in Tinley Park would prove beneficial or detrimental to the community. The commission ultimately decided it could not issue a full recommendation for the village to institute term limits for elected officials.