Poll: Should Boston City Council Terms be Two or Four Years?

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Stop us if you've heard this before. The Boston City Council voted to change the length of their terms from two to four years.

Back in 2016, the council voted 12-1 to change term limits, with only At-Large City Councilor Michelle Wu voting against it. On Wednesday, the council voted 11-2 in favor of changing their own term limits, with Wu once again voting against it, as did District 7 City Councilor Josh Zakim.

Councilor Wu regularly provides recap notes on all Boston City Council meetings and provided insight into why her colleagues supported extending terms, as well as why she and Zakim voted against it.

"Several councilors had stated at the working session on Monday and on the council floor today that having a longer term would strengthen the council as a counterweight to the mayor’s office, and it would save the city money by eliminating the need to run a citywide election in the non-mayoral odd year," wrote Wu.

"Councilor Zakim and I voted against this proposal because of concerns that it would raise the barriers for new candidates to challenge incumbents. Absent campaign finance reform, this would double the amount of time and number of years that incumbents could build up warchests and make it more difficult for a first-time candidate to raise the resources for a credible campaign," wrote Wu.

She added that new candidates have successfully challenged incumbents in non-mayoral election years, and she doesn't support halving the opportunities for those new candidates.

"Finally, I believe that having a two-year term makes Councilors more accountable to constituents and pushes us to be the most nimble level of government," wrote Wu.

The measure would need to be approved by the mayor, the state legislature and the governor to become law.

So what do you think? Should Boston City Council terms be two or four years in length?

 

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