Charter Amendment No. 1 is supposed to change the council members' terms from two years to four years (with a 12-year maximum) but the unintended consequence is to reset the clock on current term limits and for this reason I urge the citizens of Maui County to vote no.
Currently, members have two-year terms with a 10-year limit. If, in the 2012 election on Nov. 6, we re-elect all the incumbent members, then by 2014 two members will each have served for eight years, one for six years and four more for four years. But if this charter amendment becomes law, then the two longest-serving members will be eligible for 12 more years, giving them a total of 20 uninterrupted years on the council. This seems to destroy the concept of term limits currently in our charter.
If the proposed change had counted the existing years of serving members toward their 12-year limit, I would not be opposed to the change, but this is not the case. By resetting the clock, our incumbents have the chance to stay in office for up to 20 consecutive years.
I am not against the current council members as individuals. I am just supporting the concept of reasonable term limits enshrined in our charter.
This flawed amendment should be rejected now and perhaps resubmitted next election with a provision to count an incumbent's time in office when the law takes effect toward the 12-year maximum.