Brookhaven voters have rejected a ballot question that would have removed the term limit for the mayor.

Assuming the unofficial results from the Nov. 3 election hold, the decision means that incumbent Mayor John Ernst must leave office at the end of his current, second term, which began this year.

The ballot question had 14,552 votes against, or 55.24%, and 11,789 votes in favor, or 44.76%.

Under the existing city charter, mayors are limited to two consecutive four-year terms.

The city government drew controversy with an attempt last year to raise the term limit solely by state legislation. Some state legislators balked and required that the issue go before voters.

In 2017, a charter review commission had recommended keeping the mayoral term, but extending it to a third term.

“Charter review and associated changes to the city charter are built into the process of ensuring the city of Brookhaven is reflective of and responsive to the people we serve,” said city spokesperson Burke Brennan in response to the vote. “The residents have spoken and the city will proceed under the current language of the charter.”

In another ballot question decision, a reform of the DeKalb County Board of Ethics easily won approval with over 87% of the vote.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.