Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Commissioner Carpenter responds

Commissioner Mike Carpenter, a reader of this blog, has commented on our concerns about County Charter Amendment 360, and I would like to post that here. While I may not necessarily agree with all of his arguments, I believe they should be heard. Without further ado:


I understand and appreciate your position on term limits, but would respectfully ask that you and your readers reconsider your position. As you know the Commission was compelled to revisit the charter as a result of a state supreme court case that indicated that our government is "de facto" because we failed to adequately establish the office of Sheriff, Trustee, County Clerk, Register and Assessor. If the ordinance fails, county government would be in jeopardy of losing future legal battles because the government would lack legitimacy.

The ordinance fixes that very serious legal problem. It keeps all of the offices elected as the voters overwhelmingly requested. It also leaves the duties the same for every office as the voters asked.

On the issue of term limits: opponents of the ordinance fail to articulate that the current county wide officers are not bound by any term limits, only the commission and the mayor. The ordinance applies term limits to those elected officials and for continuity's sake applies the same standard to future commissions and mayors. The ordinance is explicit that the three four-year terms DOES NOT APPLY TO ANYONE ELECTED IN 2006. The current commission and mayor can never get three four year terms. We are always bound to two four-year terms.

Finally, I agree that the issue should have been a separate ordinance. I proposed it that way and received 11 votes. A few days later that coalition fell apart and the only point that could be agreed on was three four-year terms. While I am disappointed, I belief the legitimacy of the government trumps the difference between 8 years and 12 years.

I hope a majority of voters will see it that way too. If anyone has questions, you can reach me on my cell at 331-0153 or e-mail me directly at mike.carpenter@shelbycountytn.gov.

Thank you.

Mike Carpenter
County Commissioner


Wintermute said...

I see it the way Mike does and voted FOR the resolution yesterday.

Tom Guleff said...

The fact is that we can fix a "very serious legal problem" without lumping all these measures together, and without changing our current term limits.

If the people wanted the term limits to be 3 terms in 1994 they would have voted that in. Let's not forget the lawsuits brought by former angry commissioners that tried to overturn the 2 term limit provision. Politicians hate term limits, because it limits their power and reduces cronyism.

I agree with Mike that we need legitimacy in governemnet, but this my friends is going in the opposite different.

Fix what is broke, and leave the rest alone.

I would encourage all citizens to vote NO and send this ordinance back to the Shelby County Board of Commissioners to be unbundled, and to bring forth something we can all understand and support.

Believe me, the sun will rise in the morning, if this ordinance fails.

Tom Guleff

eda said...