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1,000 Niles Voters Call For Term Limits

They expect a referendum to be placed on November ballot, which could knock longtime trustees and mayor off of next spring's ballot.

 

Three Niles residents who gathered 1,018 voters' signatures in support of term limits submitted them to Niles Village Clerk Marlene Victorine Friday.

If their ballot initiative makes it onto the November ballot and passes, it could bar Mayor Robert Callero and Trustees Louella Preston and Andrew Przybylo from running in next spring's election. The ballot would limit service in village government to 16 years, and all of them have served at least that much. 

Joe Makula, a Niles resident who led the effort to circulate the petitions, said he isn't aiming it against anyone in particular, but rather because he believes term limits help foster good government.

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"Term limits allow for more participation and new ideas to come forth," he said.

Makula, his wife Mary Makula and Mary Marusek, who ran unseccessfully for village trustee in 2011, circulated the petitions at the Fourth of July parade and other public events in July. Resident Rob Kurfirst and the Citizen Advocacy Center also helped the effort, Joe Makula said.

Partly a reaction to Blase's actions

"Given the history of Niles, there were problems with people serving for decades," Marusek said. "There were problems with (who served federal prison time for fraud), and there are things that are still coming out from that period in time.

"It's more an issue of citizens having a right to be part in the discussion."

Mary Makula agreed.

"I believe too much power corrupts," she said.

Trustees could serve no more than 16 years

The organizers asked Niles residents to sign a petition to place on the ballot the following referendum question: "Shall the Village of Niles prohibit anyone from serving more than 16 years on the Village of Niles Board of Trustees, including any service as president of the village board (mayor)?' 

1,018 people signed, and Mary Makula and Mary Marusek each said they only encountered two people who declined to sign.

County clerk would put it on the ballot

According to a press release from Makula and Maryam Judar, a community lawyer at the Citizen Advocacy Center, the village of Niles is required to certify the petition and forward it to the Cook County Clerk, for placement on the November ballot.

In the last election cycle, it said, the Niles Election Board, headed by then-Mayor Blase, refused to certify a voter petition for a referendum on off-track betting. Citizens sued in Circuit Court, and a judge ordered the Niles Election Board to certify the ballot initiative and forward it to the county clerk.

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Sylvia Mallon July 30, 2012 at 01:40 PM
I signed this petition. I'm all for it!
Cheryl July 30, 2012 at 03:23 PM
It should be limited to 2 terms (8 yrs total).
Pat Tackett July 30, 2012 at 07:09 PM
I agree and even more so with Cheryl. 2 terms - 8 years max. If it is long enough for the President of the U.S. it should be long enough for all elected officials - Federal, State and local levels. At least at the local level we can definitely do something about it. .
SuburbanMary July 30, 2012 at 07:45 PM
The only issue with term limits and smaller, local governments: do you really have enough qualified individuals who are willing to do what it takes so that their village runs smoothly? The turn-over will obviously be greater if you limit individuals to two 4-year terms. Can a village find enough dedicated people who want to run for office? Or will representation (and any longer-term projects) suffer because of the constant turn-overs?
Red Sam Rackham July 30, 2012 at 07:55 PM
However once an elected official reaches a point where he can't run again, what's his incentive to do a good job?
Joseph LoVerde July 30, 2012 at 11:19 PM
I signed the petition and support term limits. Let the voters of Niles determine if they want their elected officials on term limits. We work for them so its only right they decide. Joe LoVerde
Jac Charlier July 31, 2012 at 01:31 AM
This is a great move - kudos to the citizens who organized the petition drive. Now, once working for its passage. Have to admit, it’s too bad it comes to term limits but with so few people voting on a regular basis, the power of incumbency and public service turning into career/self-service, this is almost the only way.
Lois A. MacAdam July 31, 2012 at 02:01 AM
A person who doesn't do a good job can be recalled. It's been done before and I'm sure it can be done again. If not, then the other people in office will ignore that person and do stuff without him/her. Everything can be worked out, one way or another. I don't think we should let the question of a person doing a good or bad job get in the way of this great idea.
Jac Charlier July 31, 2012 at 02:37 AM
Their incentive is public service! They may step down at any time that they are no longer willing to serve the citizens.
Glenn Posner September 11, 2012 at 01:47 PM
I would love to see the idea of term limits implemented at the federal level as well. That said, 16 years seems like an extremely lengthy term and would love to see that number substantially reduced.

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