The day of reckoning is right around the corner on a longstandinTg debate in Livingston Parish.
Voters will have the opportunity Nov. 6 to decide on an amendment to the parish’s Home Rule Charter that would enact term limits for the parish president and council.
Proponents of the issue have clamored several years to bring the issue to a vote, which could have a drastic effect on parish government.
The advocates for term limits believe officeholders become too lofty in their perch over several terms and accumulate too much money in the campaign war chest, which discourages opposition.
Many believe the lack of term limits hinders progress and keeps the same old ideas and the same ruling body in control of the parish.
Opponents of the measure believe, in effect, the amendment violates the constitutional right of voters.
They believe term limits deprive constituents of quality representation through a government-enforced mandate which, in turn, brings more uncertainty to the continuation of quality leadership.
It’s no wonder the debate has dragged on for several years, but voters should put emotions aside and carefully examine the effect of term limits.
The proposal goes before voters when fewer residents seem inclined to run for public office.
Many do not have the time or, unfortunately, the interest to serve in a public capacity.
As interest dwindles and time becomes more limited for many residents, it could likely lead to a less qualified pool of candidates by virtue of fewer choices.
Opponents of term limits are correct in the claim that a system is already in place. It’s called the lever on the voting machine.
We saw a glowing example of term limits in 2015. While two Parish Council member chose not to seek another term, voters rejected the seven who sought re-election.
Voters got their message across and achieved change on their own.
The electorate voiced dissatisfaction and got the change they demanded.
But is it fair to lose quality representation because government says so? Could voters wind up with a candidate less dedicated than the predecessor?
It’s ironic that a parish which largely opposes big government would wish to forsake one of the greatest liberties enjoyed by Americans.
Voters should consider the consequences when they allow a government amendment -- and not their own decision -- dictate how long a good public servant can represent them.
Proponents of term limits should be careful what they wish for.