Should we abolish term limits for the Chatham County chairperson?

I’m not planning to make any sort of public endorsement of candidates, but I’m still going to have things to say on this blog about the upcoming election in Savannah and Chatham County.

For residents of the city of Savannah, this year’s vote is especially important since we’ll be selecting a new a mayor and since the two aldermen-at-large are running for mayor. That means that the three most important citywide elected positions are up for grabs.

I’ll have some posts about specific city races, but there are some other matters that will be on the ballot. I don’t have any qualms about sharing my thoughts on some of those.

I’ll start with an easy one: should we remove the term limits on the county chairperson (currently Pete Liakakis)?

Here’s the wording you’ll see on the November ballot:

Shall the Act be approved which removes the term limitations on the office of chairperson of the Board of Commissioners of Chatham County?
( ) YES
( ) NO

I have a great deal of respect for Pete Liakakis, but I’m voting No for this one.

If this becomes purely a referendum on Pete as a person, it will pass. If it becomes a referendum on how well the County has negotiated some lean budget years, it might pass.

But if voters focus on the kind of government we want to have, then it will fail. Would we then move to abolish the term limits for the mayor of Savannah? For the governor of Georgia? For the president?

I really have no idea how voters will respond in many of the races this fall, and I’m unsure what will happen here. I even wonder if some voters will be confused by the wording of this particular line item.

But I’m a solid No on this one. We should not remove the term limits for the Chatham County chairperson.