ShareThis Page
North Hills

McCandless OKs term limits for volunteer posts

Tony LaRussa
| Saturday, March 3, 2018, 2:25 p.m.

McCandless council has set term limits and other restrictions on people who volunteer to serve on various boards, commissions and committees that help shape the decisions made by elected officials.

Council last week approved a series of changes to the appointment policy it created in May 2016 that was designed to encourage more residents to serve on advisory groups such as the planning commission, zoning hearing board, community day committee and environmental advisory committee.

The policy replaced council's long-standing practice of simply reappointing current members when their terms expired by requiring the positions be advertised and that residents who apply undergo an interview before being appointed by council.

An addition to the policy approved unanimously at the Feb. 26 meeting will limit people from serving more than two consecutive terms unless the town receives no other applications from qualified residents.

Council also added a provision that prohibits members of town council from serving on authorities, boards and commissions unless the rules governing those groups require that a seat be filled by a representative from council.

A council member, however, could fill a post if nobody applies or the position needs to be filled temporarily.

Additionally, the policy limits to one, the number of positions a resident can hold. That policy change applies to appointments made after June 1, 2016.

“These changes were made in the spirit of encouraging more citizens to be involved and making them (the positions) available to more people in the community,” council President Kim Zachary said.

Resident Brian Moreth, who has served on a number of volunteer groups for the township, said the term limits are misguided because they could result in people with experience and demonstrated ability automatically being replaced with people lacking a track record.

“Do not add term limits that spit on the records, knowledge and experience of the incumbents,” he said. “Put the best people in the position.”

Councilman Greg Walkauskus noted that council still will have the power to determine whether a person applying for a post is qualified to serve.

Councilwoman Joan Powers questioned the benefits of limiting terms.

“I do have a problem with removing someone who has done a very good job for a length of time for the Town of McCandless just for the sake of change,” she said. “If someone has done a very good job and they are interested in staying in the position, council has the decision to make whether they stay or not.”

Zachary reiterated that the intent of the policy change “was not to just remove someone, but to give others a chance to be involved.”

“We're not trying to say their (incumbents) service wasn't outstanding or appreciated,” she said.

She said potential applicants have commented that it is pointless to apply for a post if “incumbents are reappointed 100 percent of the time.”

Councilman Bill Kirk noted the change limits serving to just two consecutive terms, which means someone who has served in the past could reapply again in the future.

“It's a difficult balancing act to want to encourage participation and at same time take advantage of the resources and institutional knowledge of incumbents.”

Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-772-6368 or or via Twitter @TonyLaRussaTrib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me