The Sandy Springs Charter Commission thinks the city’s mayor and City Council members should be limited to two four-year terms in office.

The commission, appointed to review the city’s charter and recommend any changes the commissioners felt were needed, voted 5-3 June 21 to recommend that the mayor and council members be barred from seeking third four-year terms in office. The limitation must be adopted by the state Legislature.

The commission recommended the term limits begin with the 2017 election.

The mayor and members of council now may seek reelection without any limitations on the terms they may serve.

“I think there’s a real advantage to having term limits,” commission member Carolyn Axt said. “I think it’s important we enable a real participatory type of government in our city.”

But Charter Commission Chairman Rusty Paul argued the limits weren’t needed because voters could “throw the bums out” in any election and because several Sandy Springs council members had resigned their seats and been replaced during the city’s first five years.

“I don’t see a problem with people staying too long [on Sandy Springs City Council],” Paul said. “I see a problem with churn.”

Axt and commissioners Doug MacGinnitie, Oliver Porter, Jim Squire and Larry Young voted to impose term limits. Paul and commissioners Josh Belinfante and Robert Shaw voted against the limits.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.