A Decade of Service
April 15, 2009 12:08 PM
For many years we have had an informal rule in City government that citizen appointments to committees should not serve more than ten consecutive years. That's not unusual. Many nonprofit boards and other bodies have similar requirements. It's not a bad idea to bring on some new ideas and to give more citizens a chance to participate.
So, with a few exceptions, I've followed the practice of past mayors and replaced committee members who have served a decade with new members. Just in the last few months two long time citizen members have come off their committees after serving ten years: Lou Host Jablonski at the Urban Design Commission and Michael Bridgeman at the Madison Arts Commission.
Many committee appointments come up in April. And there are a number of committee members who have reached there ten years or exceeded it, and so will be replaced with new members when I make committee appointments next week.
Up until now this has been a general practice, but the Council recently passed an ordinance which memorializes it by actually requiring a two-thirds vote for anyone appointed to a new term that would take them beyond 12 years. I'm not sure why they chose 12 years instead of the traditional 10, but nonetheless, I agree with the general rationale. And unless I see an overwhelming reason to reappoint someone I'll continue the reasonable practice of making changes after a decade.