Tumlin is recommending the council adopt a resolution asking the Cobb Legislative Delegation to amend the city’s charter in the 2014 legislative session. The amendment would cap the number of consecutive terms a mayor and council member could run at three.
“My proposal — I’m not married to it — mine would be if you had three terms in before qualifying of 2017, then you couldn’t run,” Tumlin said.
The mayor said he was willing to debate when the clock would start running for existing council members.
Tumlin said he came up with the decision after hearing the concern raised on the campaign trail and elsewhere.
“It just basically gives them (the public) more opportunities and makes us have good rotation in our council,” he said.
Georgia Municipal Association spokeswoman Amy Henderson said most of Georgia’s 537 cities do not have term limits.
“You’ve got some that have term limits for the mayor’s position — Atlanta, Savannah, Hinesville where the mayor has term limits, Augusta,” she said. “When you’re talking about term limits, it’s more common for it to be the mayor’s position.”
Tumlin and his opponent in the Nov. 5 election, Charley Levinson, hold opposing views on the question.
Levinson opposes term limits, believing the matter should be decided at the ballot box.
Tumlin favors them.
“If we amended our charter to have a two- or three-term limit for all our elected officials and not just single out one councilman, I would very much support such a charter change,” Tumlin said in a candidate questionnaire the Marietta Daily Journal ran on Sunday.
Councilman Philip Goldstein, who is running unopposed, and who is the longest serving member of the council, holding office since 1980, opposes term limits.
“It is already in the hands (vote) of the citizens of each ward if an elected official is allowed the privilege to continue serving for another term,” Goldstein said. “Having people serve that have tenure provides an institutional knowledge that would otherwise be lost.”
Councilwoman Annette Lewis and her challenger, Marietta school board member Stuart Fleming, are also divided on the question.
Fleming said he supports term limits for all levels of government. Lewis does not.
Councilman Anthony Coleman, who is being challenged by Doug Martin, opposes term limits while Martin favors them.
“Two terms is enough for a member to create and develop any idea he/she has for the city,” Martin said in his candidate questionnaire. “When a council member serves longer than two terms, one begins to feel one owns the city.”
Councilman Andy Morris and his challenger, Marshall Dye, said they support term limits.
Realtor Johnny Walker, who is running unopposed for retiring Councilman Johnny Sinclair’s seat, said he favors term limits.
Yet Michelle Cooper Kelly, who is running unopposed for retiring Councilman Jim King’s seat, sides with Goldstein, Lewis, Coleman and Levinson in opposing them.