Jacksonville councilman suggests ending term limits

If passed by council, voters would see referendum on 2018 ballot

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Term limits for city and county leaders were implemented 25 years ago in Jacksonville, ended by court order, then instituted again. Now, those term limits are being challenged one more.

“Throw the bums out” was the cry of the voters who passed the original referendum to limit Duval County's elected officials to eight years.

City councilman Matt Schellenberg said the two terms allowed council members and other elected offices are just not enough time to get things done. He said the majority of cities in Florida don't have term limits, and that puts Jacksonville at a disadvantage.

"Where it hurts us greatly is advocacy when we go to Tallahassee," Schellenberg said. "If everyone was term limited in the county and city area, that would be great, but only 37 percent of us are."

Schellenberg has introduced an ordinance that would put a referendum on the 2018 ballot asking voters to end term limits.

Jerry Holland served two terms as supervisor of elections, then had to give up the office. He ran for and was elected as property appraiser in 2015.

Despite having to start over in a new job because of the law, he actually favors some form of term limit.

"I am not sure I would eliminate term limits. I think sometimes eight years is too short," Holland said. "You get in there, if there (have) been problems in the office, (you) straighten them out, trying to turn them around, and it seems like you're headed out the door."

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