Measure E changes term lengths

Next month, voters will be asked to vote on Measure E, which creates uniform term lengths for all city commissioners.

Library commissioners serve terms of three years, while port commissioners’ terms are five years. If Measure E passes, commissioners would serve terms of four years, equivalent to terms on other city boards.

Shifting all the terms to four years should create additional efficiency and save money when it comes time to choose new board members, according to arguments in favor of Measure E filed by Mayor Barbara Pierce and Vice Mayor Rosanne Foust.

However, Port Director Mike Giari argued that the Port Commission could lose some of its expertise if terms are shortened.

“The Port is a complex enterprise. There’s a learning curve, and a longer term is better than a shorter term,” Giari said.

Of the five Port commissioners, Dick Claire was appointed this year, Ralph Garcia was appointed in September 2005 and re-appointed this year for a five-year term, Larry Aikens was appointed in 1995, Lewis Miller was appointed in 1993 and Richard “Dick” Dodge was appointed in 1980.

In the future, the City Council may examine whether to impose term limits on city commissions, and may consider expanding the library and Port commissions to seven members rather than five, Foust said during the July 9 City Council meeting.

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