Mayoral terms ought to be 2 years

Published 5:55 am Sunday, November 4, 2012

Those who insist there must be a four-year term for the mayor of Albert Lea are missing the point of the two-year mayoral term. They speak about continuity, about learning the job, about showing the importance of the mayor’s job, etc. Albert Lea has had mayors who served for four years, for eight years and more. All they had to do was to get re-elected.

There has not been a revolving door for our mayors due to the two-year term. One mayor chose not to run for re-election. One mayor suffered a major family tragedy. One mayor did not win a bid for re-election.

The crucial point to the mayor’s current two-year term is that every two years the voters elect three council members and the mayor. They constitute four out of the seven members of the council. This allows the voters to totally change the direction in which the city is headed every two years.

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Changing the mayor’s term to four years will destroy the flexibility of the structure of the city government. It will take something very powerful from voters of the city: the ability to change the direction in which the city is headed, every two years. This is grass-roots democracy at its best.

What other cities may do with the term of their mayors is of little guidance to Albert Lea. Albert Lea set up a city manager-council style municipal government in its charter. The mayor of Albert Lea presides at council meetings and is a ceremonial figurehead for the city. The mayor has one vote as does each council member.

The Charter Commission voted unanimously to oppose the change to a four-year term for the mayor of Albert Lea. The commission consists of citizen volunteers, none of whom had any biases or preconceived ideas when the issue came before them. The four-year term proposal was given careful consideration.

There are well meaning but very uncompelling reasons for wanting the change to four-year terms.

However, the Albert Lea City Charter was carefully and purposefully constructed with a two-year mayor term. Vote no on the mayor’s term change issue.


Jamie A. Kyllo

Albert Lea