Lehigh Valley

Allentown City Council overrides mayoral veto on term limits

Allentown City Council overrides...

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Allentown City Council voted unanimously Wednesday night to override Mayor Ed Pawlowski's veto, thus opening the door for a referendum on mayoral terms limits to appear on the November ballot.

The vote was 6-0; Councilwoman Cynthia Mota was absent and there was no discussion prior to the vote.

In a June 16 memo issued to council, Pawlowski said he was not in favor of term limits.

"... In the interest of compromise, I would be happy to sign a measure that would place the question of term limits for all elected positions together," Pawlowski said in the memo.

This would have included the mayor, city council members and the city controller.

At a previous council meeting, Councilman David McGuire said the bill mirrors the legislative branch of the federal government. The United States Constitution places term limits on the President of the United States, but senators and representatives can serve unlimited terms.

The ordinance amends the city's Home Rule Charter, adopted in April 1996, which did not place any term limits on the city's chief executive. It would amend Article III, Section 302 and would prohibit any person from being elected to the office of mayor more than twice. Those terms could run consecutively or one term at a time. The time served to fill in for the remainder of an unexpired term would not be deemed a "term" for the purposes of this limitation.

The referendum that would appear on the November ballot would have no impact on Pawlowski's previous terms and would go into effect in January.  Pawlowski is in the final year of his third term as mayor.

Election Day is Nov. 7.

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