Term limits for local elected officials will once again be on county ballots in November.
The county commissioners Monday agreed to place a measure on the general election ballot for removal of term limits from the offices of county sheriff and county coroner.
The final wording of the question will be approved at a later date, but the ballot issue will include only the two county offices in separate questions to the voters.
The commissioners were asked to take the step at their May 7 meeting by Hugh Sanburg of Cedaredge and Chalmer Swain, former county coroner. They were joined by over 30 people in the commissioners' meeting room who came to show their support for the idea. No one present offered opposition when asked for comment by Commissioner Doug Atchley.
The presentation to the commissioners was a strong endorsement for the county's current elected sheriff and county coroner — Fred McKee in his third term as sheriff and Kevin Lucy in his first term as coroner.
Law enforcement officers including Montrose County Sheriff Rick Dunlap, Montrose Police Chief Tom Chinn, Cedaredge Police Chief Robert Yant, Delta Police Chief Robert Thomas, and former Colorado State Patrol Officer Jon Rapp offered the strong endorsements for McKee personally and for the department organization he has put in place.
Lucy, elected in 2010, was previously deputy coroner. He received a strong election endorsement from Swain who had been term limited. Some people in the meeting noted that the office of coroner is unique in that few people are qualified to hold it, so term limits should be removed.
Sanburg and others told the commissioners that term limits can be viewed as unnecessary when voters have the right at regular elections to exercise term limits at the ballot box.
It was stated during the session that since the adoption of term limits, the average term for state office holders has increased from 4.3 years to 7.8 years. Swain noted that the recent Republican State Assembly opposed term limits by a 1,931 to 1,183 vote.
County voters have seen the term limit issue on the ballot before, said county clerk and recorder Ann Eddins. Currently, county commissioners are limited to two terms and all other county elected officials are limited to three terms, the result of the last vote here on the term limits issue in 2005.
Despite the strong personal endorsement of McKee and the job he has done, commissioner Bruce Hovde noted the proposed measure is aimed at addressing the needs of the sheriff's office and not at the individual filling it.
McKee said that Under sheriff Mark Taylor would be completely qualified to step into the sheriff's position at any time and continue the administrative and law enforcement programs now in place.blog comments powered by Disqus