Voters in Riverside heading for the polls early or on presidential primary day on March 17 should remember to make it all the way to the bottom of the ballot where, in addition to the referendum on the public library’s bond issue, there will be one regarding term limits for the village president and trustees.
The question asks whether voters want to limit the village president and trustees to serving no more than three consecutive terms, beginning with officials elected in April 2021.
Last October, President Ben Sells cast the decisive vote, breaking a 3-3 deadlock, to place the question on the March 17 ballot. Even though he disagreed with the idea of term limits, Sells said he voted in favor of the referendum in order to honor a vote taken last March to leave the question to voters.
The referendum question approved by the village board in March 2019 would have retroactively limited the terms of officials already sitting on the village board. If passed, the law would have limited Sells and Trustee Doug Pollock to just one more term in their present roles.
However, that referendum question needed to be repealed and amended after the Illinois General Assembly passed a law last summer requiring any term-limit questions to be prospective rather than retroactive.
Sells said at the time that he had no intention of seeking to serve any more than one term.
“If it passes, it means the residents of the town don’t want anyone serving for more than three terms, and I’d honor the intent of the referendum,” Sells said at the time.
Likewise, Pollock said he saw no way he’d ever serve five consecutive terms as trustee.
“My hope would be that other qualified candidates file to run for trustee and that I would step aside after two or three terms,” he said last October.
— Bob Uphues