GARLAND — The majority of Garland commissioners would like to cut down a four-year mayoral tenure by two years.
During a monthly meeting, Commissioner Ralph Smith made a suggestion to change the term to two years. It’s currently set at four years.
The commissioners voted 4-1 to hold a public hearing for the switch. Carolyn Melvin was the lone commissioner who voted against the idea of having a mayor serve a couple of years.
“It’s taken me two years to get adjusted to what’s going on,” Melvin said in regards to being elected in 2013 and making decisions for the town. “I can’t imagine a mayor doing it in two years.”
The town’s mayor-council government consists of one mayor and five commissioners. One member serves as mayor pro tem. Officials on the council serve four-year terms.
Early in the year, the issue was debated by the commissioners. Mayor Pro-Tem Haywood Johnson and Smith wanted the change just in case the residents were not pleased with his or her performance. At that time, a motion to hold a public hearing failed because some were concerned if two years would be enough. Melvin and Commissioners S.J. Smith and Denise Toler were not in favor of the change, during that time. S.J. Smith said he changed his mind since the leadership was dealing with a lot of grants and other issues.
Garland Mayor Winifred Murphy was opposed to the change and shared research about town mayors who had different lengths for their tenures. Some served two, four, ten and so forth.
“But I agree with Commissioner Melvin,” Murphy said during the meeting. “If I had a two-year term, I wouldn’t got a lot of stuff done.”
Previously, Murphy stated that she does not plan to run for another term. She was appointed as mayor in 2012 and was elected in November 2013. Her current term is set to expire in 2017.
Another reason Murphy was opposed to the change was time and effort it takes to have a campaign.
“It takes away the time you can concentrate on something else,” Murphy said.
During previous discussions, Murphy noted that 45 percent of mayors throughout the United States had four-year cycles and 35 percent served for two years.
Before any changed occur, Board Attorney Micheal Porters said residents would have to be notified about the public hearing. A date for the future meeting has not been set.
“I just wanted to get it done,” Smith said.
Since the majority of commissioners agreed to change the limit for mayors, Murphy made a suggestion to have a two-year max for commission seats.
“Commissioners have all the decision making power,” Murphy said. “If the mayors are going to be two, why not the commissioners as well?”
Smith made a motion to table a final decision about Murphy’s idea until the next meeting. It was approved unanimously to do so.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.