Louisville Metro Councilman Ken Fleming, R-7, has drafted a resolution asking the General Assembly to amend several parts of the merger law that created Metro Government.
The non-binding measure calls for terms limits for the mayor and council members, as well as nonpartisan elections. The change would reduce the number of consecutive terms the mayor can serve from three to two, and limit city lawmakers to three terms.
The resolution also asks the legislature to clarify the mayoral line of succession, give the council an additional two weeks to review the budget and require the mayor to include alternative plans during shortfalls.
Fleming says it’s important council members have this debate now before state lawmakers convene in January.
“I’m really looking forward to a good, healthy discussion from a higher level perspective because there is really pros and cons to having term limits or not having term limits in terms of holding on to institutional knowledge or trying to find new, fresh blood to come in,” he says.
The legislation that combined city and county government hasn’t been changed since it was approved by voters in November 2002. But Fleming’s resolution has been met with resistance from council Democrats, state lawmakers and the mayor’s office, which have doubted the recommendation will make it out of the council.
Two years ago, Councilman Brent Ackerson, D-26, proposed a simliar resolution seeking to amend merger law to reduce the mayor’s term limits. But the measure stalled after disagreements boiled over about whether council members should be included in those term limits.
Others have criticized the resolution for jumping ahead of Mayor Greg Fischer’s merger task force, which is reviewing the structure and services of Metro Government.
Fleming says he looks forward to a spirited discussion, particularly around the suggestion of nonpartisan elections for Metro Government offices.
“When you really look at the day in and day out, dealing with the issues and serving the constituents and dealing with what we need to do to move Louisville forward, it really shouldn’t come down to a lot of partisan issues. Instead of having labels in front of everybody, we ought to addressing the ideas and thoughts,” he says.
The resolution will be given a first read at the full council meeting Thursday and will be assigned to the government accountability committee.