Dedham's November Town Meeting includes a warrant to impose terms limits for most elected officials.
The change is part of the town's charter review this year, and if term limits, or any other charter changes are approved at the Nov. 18 Town Meeting, they would go to a townwide vote in April. The charter advisory committee recommended the term limits change.
Currently, there are no term limits for Dedham elected officials, and the town clerk and town moderator are excluded from having term limits due to them being regarded as not being policy board members, and their expertise is needed on long term basis without interruptions.
The elected positions, like the Board of Selectmen, are part-time, and are eligible for medical insurance because they receive a stipend. One of the charter advisory committee’s recommendations is to remove the provided stipends, so elected official would not get paid at all, once again excluding the town clerk, as the only full-time elected position. .
According to Boston.com, a spokesperson for the attorney general’s office, which investigates the legality of charter changes, said only two Massachusetts communities — Methuen and Southbridge — have imposed term limits.
Two Board of Selectmen, Chairman Mike Butler, and Carmen Dello Iacono Jr, both said they were not for term limits, but Butler voted in favor of the matter to go to town meeting to allow residents to discuss it democratically.
"I don’t agree with the charter change for term limits," said Dello Iacono Jr. to Patch. "I believe we have the best term limits available now, it's elections. If you don’t like what’s going on then run for office or support someone else. Tying someone down to terms, you may not be able to implement certain things.... The only person who has term limits is the president of the United States of America, except for some few places."
Dello Iacono Jr., in his 10th year on the Board of Selectmen, said if he were termed out, he wouldn't be able to work on the Rustcraft Road proposal to site a new police station, town hall and senior center for the town.
In Dedham, elected officials make up the board of selectmen, school committee, park and recreation commission; planning board, library trustees, board of health, housing authority, commissioner of trust funds, and board of assessors – which is the only board the charter advisory committee is looking into make appointed, in a different warrant article.
"In the scheme of things I don’t think term limits are a hot topic," said Butler, in his seventh year on the Board of Selectmen. "Meaning is it the kind of change that people really, really want to see? Or do they have other priorities? I think they have other priorities."