Referendum will ask voters if they want limits on number of back-to-back terms for Village President and Village Trustee offices
In late 2019 I launched an initiative to place term limits on the ballot.
The original plan was for the question to appear on the ballot for one of the high-turnout elections in 2020. However, due to events beyond my control, the effort had to be put on hold.
In late Summer 2020, we re-launched the term limits referendum signature collection drive, this time for the April 2021 local general election.
The ballot question will ask voters if candidates should be barred from re-election if having previously served multiple, full consecutive terms in that office: 2 terms for Village President, or 3 terms for Village Trustee.
A full term is 4 years. The limits would apply for any full terms served starting in 2021, and are not retroactive against previous terms.
The first step, collecting the required number of valid signatures, and submitting them to the Village Clerk, has been completed. The next, is surviving any legal challenges.
The binding referendum will appear on the ballot April 6, provided there are no prevailing objections, or other “dirty tricks” the current Norridge government may employ.
Norridge Improvement Party dirty tricks
Of course, it wouldn’t be the “Norridge Improvement Party” if they didn’t already launch dirty tricks to get the term limits referendum kicked off the ballot. It’s called the “three referenda” trick.
Election law says you can only have a maximum of three referendums on a given ballot.
So what’s a NIP politician to do if they lack the confidence to defeat a term limits referendum they despise? Place nonsensical advisory referendums on the ballot first, in order to try to get the referendum they don’t want kicked off.
During the 12/9/20 online-only Village board meeting, Village politicians rubber stamped three advisory referendums pertaining to marijuana sales, gambling, and a limit on the number of gas stations, to appear on the April election ballot.
However, the voter-initiated term limits referendum was submitted Wednesday morning. We got there first.
Andrew Kopinski, a supporter of the term limits referendum, submitted a comment to the Village board for Wednesday’s meeting, questioning why the three nonbinding referendums were being voted on now.
Bielak responded to Kopinski’s comments, saying these were “critical issues” facing the community.
Bielak’s explanation falls short however, when you consider the Village Board had every opportunity to easily submit these questions in the summer, for the high-turnout November presidential election that took place just a few weeks ago.
The timing seems a clear attempt to push our referendum off the ballot.
Asked for comment on Bielak’s response, Kopinski said “It is disappointing that there was not a direct answer to my comments”.
“The registered voters of Norridge have a right to know why the resolutions are only Advisory and not legally Binding.” Kopinski added.
Support for term limits
The feedback we received for limits on the number of years Norridge politicians can serve at one time has been overwhelmingly positive. Nobody can understand why the same politicians need to be in office for 20 or more years.
Or why one specific trustee has been in office for 39 years. Or why any post-Joe Sieb Village President should be in office “for life“. Many couldn’t believe there aren’t any limits now.
We found few who would disagree on the need for a regular influx of new people and new ideas governing our community.
Of those who did disagree with the concept of term limits, most supported voters’ right to choose a YES or a NO.
In a Village with over 9,500 registered voters, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask that our politicians take a break from elected office every 8 to 12 years.
I want to extend my thanks to everyone who turned this petition from an idea, to reality. It would not have happened without you.
The Norridge Improvement Party will have to make the case in the court of public opinion whether dubious, non-binding referenda voted on by a handful of their politicians, should have precedence over a voter-initiative referendum signed by hundreds of voters.
Based on their behavior thus far, I would be surprised if they didn’t make the wrong decision.
Future updates on term limits can be found here, or on my Facebook page Facebook.com/ChudzikForNorridge.
Adam Chudzik, Norridge