Term-limits question will go to Niles voters next spring
Updated: February 4, 2013 1:16AM
NILES — Niles voters can expect to see the issue of term limits on the April 2013 election ballot.
At the Nov. 27 Niles Village Board meeting trustees unanimously approved a resolution to put a referendum question on the ballot asking voters if trustees should serve a maximum of three full terms, equal to 12 years, and if the mayor should serve no more than two full terms, or eight years.
Mayor Robert Callero said he would prefer that trustees and the mayor are allowed to serve up to three full terms.
“I’ve seen in other communities that two terms is not enough to get things done,” Callero said.
Resident Joe Makula attempted to put a term-limit referendum on the November ballot after obtaining more than 1,000 citizen signatures, but the village clerk did not certify the petitions. Makula took the village to court, but a judge in September ruled in the village’s favor, stating that the petitions did not conform to the Election Code.
Makula’s referendum had called for limits of four, four-year terms.
When contacted this week Makula said he had expected trustees to approve the resolution putting a term-limit referendum on the April ballot. He said the big difference between what he had proposed and what the trustees voted on is that he wanted to see term-limits as retroactive so current trustees who had already exceeded the limit would not be able to serve another term.
“We’re going to get term limits one way or another,” Makula said.
At a recent board meeting long-time Trustee Louella Preston stated that she was not in favor of any type of term limits. Trustee Rosemary Palicki, elected in 2011, expressed support.
“I believe term limits encourage people to get involved in the process of government,” she told the Niles Herald-Spectator. “It is too easy to let others make decisions for us.”
Palicki said citizens may feel intimidated to run against an established incumbent and she believes term limits “level the playing field.”
“There is always the danger that longevity can lead to complacency,” said Palicki. “The village of Niles can’t afford that anymore.”
Niles Mayor Nicholas Blase served the village for 47 years before he resigned amid corruption charges in 2008.~.