Mon, Dec. 09

Jerome Council rescinds four-year staggered terms for town council

JEROME – Although narrowly approved by voters last August, Jerome Town Council decided Tuesday to rescind four-year terms staggered terms.

Right now, Jerome has council elections every two years. Other municipalities stagger their terms so not every member of an elected body is up for election at the same time.

Over the summer, Jerome Town Council decided to put the question of staggered terms on the ballot, which voters approved by just seven votes in August.

But as Jerome resident Mansel Matthews simply put, “If it isn’t broke, (don’t fix it.)”

Likewise, resident Suzy Mound expressed a similar sentiment.

“I never understood the need for staggered terms,” Mound said. “I think voting every two years works for us.”

If Jerome had adopted staggered terms, three of the five members would be randomly selected to serve until 2023, according to town manager Candace Gallagher.

After the meeting, Council member Mandy Worth said she didn’t believe voters fully grasped what staggered terms would mean for Jerome.

She also said she wants younger citizens to feel encouraged to run for council without a four-year volunteer commitment.

“I’m the youngest member on council and I’m 38 years old,” she said. “We also don’t get paid.”

Tom Beshy, deputy director of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, said while council members in Arizona aren’t on a salary, most of them do get a small stipend each month to cover expenses.

“It’s a low amount of money,” he said.

Council members from municipalities such as Jerome, on the other hand, get nothing at all.

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