A second vote to dismiss the term limits of the Measure H Oversight Committee went down in flames on Monday.
Two weeks ago the Ceres City Council voted in a 2-2 tie to get rid of term limits for the oversight committee, which was created in 2007 when Ceres voters approved the half-cent sales tax increase designated for police and fire services. The voters stipulated that the committee should determine if the tax proceeds are being spent where they are supposed to be. The measure called for a member to be limited to no more than two three-year terms. Those members could reapply for a position as long as they spent a term out.
City Attorney Mike Lyions asked the council to consider dismissing the term limit since two members - Lisa Mantarro Moore and Kathi Foster - are due to be termed out and they wish to continue serving.
The measure allows the council to dismiss the committee term limits but the council cannot adjust the tax rate.
With a full council on Monday, the attempt to dismiss term limits failed again with Mayor Chris Vierra, and Councilmembers Linda Ryno and Mike Kline voting against Councilman Ken Lane and Vice Mayor Bret Durossette.
Councilmember Linda Ryno said she wanted the limits and feels others may wish to serve without fear of incumbents being automatically reappointed.
"I still believe that since the citizens voted on the term limits that it should continue," said Councilwoman Linda Ryno. "I under that if we opted to change and do away with term limits there would still be a public hearing. But I think a public hearing is different than what the voters see after an election. I mean how many people go to the legals in the Ceres Courier looking for public hearings? I don't think that happens. I think that was what the voters voted on and we should stick with that."
Lane disagreed, saying the voters mainly voted for a half-cent sales tax.
"If they did want to serve they would have to go through the same process as they would if they were a brand-new member," said Lane. "They would have to come forward and put in an application."
Lane said he has never seen favoritism granted to incumbent appointees, saying he has always considered qualifications.
He also added: "You never see a whole bunch of people standing up and willing to serve in these committees unfortunately."
Ryno answered by saying that she was approached by two citizens who wish to serve on the committee.
"The people on it now may be doing a terrific job but how do you know that there aren't other citizens who can do as good if not a better job?" asked Ryno. "If you have people who want to serve on a committee they should be given the opportunity. And I think if the people whose term is coming to an end have to reapply, people don't typically apply against them because they know it's a given that there not going to have a chance."
Vice Mayor Bret Durossette wanted to allow Moore and Foster to reapply if they wish, saying "experience counts for something."
Mayor Chris Vierra acknowledged the two individuals have done a good job but stated "it was what the voters voted on and I'm just a little concerned about unilaterally wiping that out without going through the process."
Leonard Shepherd, the newest member of the Measure H Oversight Committee, argued against term limits.
Don Cool, who helped promote Measure H's passage, said was "appalled that anybody in this room would think that we shouldn't put term limits on things. It's ridiculous to think that we've got three people in this town who can do the job ... to think that they're the only three people who can do it is a slap in the face to all the other citizens in this town."