Philly councilman proposes term limits for future members

Philadelphia City Hall.
Photo credit Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio, file
By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A Philadelphia City Councilman has proposed letting voters decide whether to impose term limits on future council members. It's an idea that, not surprisingly, is not very popular with his colleagues.  

Councilman Allan Domb introduced a bill that would put a referendum on the May primary ballot, asking whether council members should be limited to three four-year terms, and says it's a good government bill.

"I think it'll bring in fresh ideas, bring in more people. It also will set a time frame that government isn't a long-term job," Domb said. 

Oh no? Tell that to Councilman Brian O'Neill, who is running for his 11th term.

"You don't solve the problem of too little democracy with less democracy. You're basically taking choices away from the voters," O'Neill said.  

O'Neill is paraphrasing the late Sen. Bill Bradley to illustrate his opposition to Domb's bill.

He adds the timing of the bill seems strange. 

"We have almost all new people. We are the model for not needing term limits. In the last two elections, we've turned over almost the whole council and it's good to have a few people that have some institutional memory," O'Neill said. 

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Councilman Curtis Jones adds he thinks such measures are unnecessary. 

"If you're not duly elected by the people, that's a term limit to me," Jones said. 

Domb has two co-sponsors but he doesn't appear to have any other support, and he'd need 12 votes to get it on the ballot.