City Attorney Robert Dyer has been tasked with developing wording to forward to the state legislature to impose term limits on all elected officials starting in 2014.
The proposal, brought forth by Councilman Bob Rush, would in all likelihood not be retroactive, due to the possibility of ex-post-facto conflicts with current council members. Rush's proposal includes two sequential terms in any elected position, followed by the possibility for immediate candidacy and election to another position. (e.g. John Doe can run for councilman, get re-elected, then run for mayor when his term expires).
The proposal to set term limits was accompanied by another proposal to phase out the city's pension plan for the same elected officials while raising salaries to make running for office a more enticing option for young people.
Currently, elected officials in other Cherokee municipalities make almost five times as much as Canton's. The proposed compensation increase will make the salary for a councilman $8,000 a year and for the mayor $10,000 a year.
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However, the phasing out of the pension plan will actually save the city around $20,000 a year, when the salary increases are factored in.
Although all council members agreed that the pension plan was in need of termination, Mayor Gene Hobgood led a chorus of council members who were uncomfortable with raising their own salaries in times of economic frugality.
Hobgood hoped to have the proposals to eliminate the pension plan and to raise elected officials' yearly salaries decoupled, but was unsuccessful in this attempt.
Current office holders will be given the option to either retain their pension and forego the salary increase or accept the salary increase and end the pension once the changes take effect in 2014.