MARK LANE: Ormond commissioners could lengthen their stays – Information – Daytona Seashore Information-Journal On-line


Ormond Seashore seems to be to redefine its phrases.

Few metropolis governments within the space are as incumbent-friendly as Ormond Seashore. There are not any time period limits and elections typically are sleepy. Final 12 months’s election was the exception. It was the primary time since 1995 that each one fee seats have been contested.

Town election two years earlier than was extra typical. Everyone on the fee was returned to workplace with out the fuss and trouble of holding a vote as a result of no opponents appeared. The earlier two elections noticed just one challenger per 12 months on the poll.

However Ormond Seashore Mayor Invoice Partington — first elected to the Fee in 2003 — is apprehensive that the physique nonetheless is at risk of fast turnover.

Having skilled the primary election of their political careers when the entire fee confronted voters, Ormond Seashore’s metropolis commissioners don’t need that to occur once more. Regardless of the dancing ultimately zone by incumbents and builders after they pushed again a slate of slow-growth candidates final 12 months, the group appears a bit shaken by the train.

The commissioners now need longer phrases and need them staggered. They’re poised so as to add that constitution change to the mail-in referendum already scheduled in Might for the half-cent local-option gross sales tax.

[READ MORE: Ormond Beach considers decide major election changes]

As a result of Ormond Seashore prides itself on being totally different from in all places else, its election code is totally different, too. It, together with Lake Helen and Ponce Inlet, are the final holdouts in Volusia County for two-year elections.

The final transfer to elongate fee phrases to 4 years was voted down in 2005 with 68 p.c opposed. Town tried four-year phrases from 1994 to 1998 however went again to two-year phrases in 1999.

Personally, I like good, old school, hold-their-feet-to-the-fire, two-year elections. In fact, as an individual who writes about native politics, I do have a battle of curiosity in favor of protecting factor fascinating.

Primarily I don’t purchase the concept public officers are someway extra accountable once they’re insulated from public strain.

The argument that longer phrases allow them to focus the large image and assist them make the powerful choices isn’t borne out in observe. Often, off-years are once they’re most snug with the small image and may push the laborious choices off till the general public appears to be getting riled. Officers must look over their shoulders extra typically, not much less.

You see this most dramatically with environmental and development points. Native officers are usually clear-cutting improvement boosters three years out of the cycle and tree-huggers one 12 months out of 4.

I get pleasure from listening to an election-year environmentalist a lot, I’d like to listen to from that candidate extra typically. Each different 12 months sounds wonderful.

One other little bit of Ormond Seashore exceptionalism is the best way it holds winner-take-all elections. No run-offs. This implies someone can win with out a majority of the vote.

Zone 2 Commissioner Troy Kent, as an illustration, received final 12 months with solely 49 p.c of the vote in a three-way race. This hasn’t occurred earlier than in Ormond Seashore, but when say, 5 individuals run for a seat, the winner could possibly be somebody with slightly over 20 p.c of the vote. This truly occurs in winner-take-all celebration primaries in legislative districts the place one celebration dominates.

The Metropolis Fee appears prepared to deal with this, too, whereas they’re at it. A sound concept.

These are, nevertheless, two very totally different points that needs to be voted on individually. I hope the town doesn’t observe the lead of the state’s Constitutional Revision Fee by bundling every part collectively.

Two-year phrases are a menace to incumbents. A menace that may be adequate to forestall the necessity for arbitrary time period limits. They’re a little bit of Ormond Seashore exceptionalism I’d prefer to protect. To paraphrase George Orwell: Two years good, 4 years unhealthy.