Four-Year Terms Good for Benwood

More than 30 years ago, some Benwood public officials and residents talked about changing the rules regarding the office of mayor. No one was thinking about expanding or limiting the mayor’s powers — just about the impracticality of limiting the town’s chief executive to a two-year term in office.

They talked, but it appears that no one did anything about the issue. Now, it is being discussed again — and this time, Benwood residents ought to do something about it.

Benwood’s city charter limits terms for mayor to two years. As incumbent Mayor Ed Kuca notes, “In two years, the mayor is just getting familiar with his position and then he has to start campaigning again.”

That is not a recipe for effective government, of course. Two-year terms in office are a bad idea for many positions in government, including those at the local level.

Benwood voters will have an opportunity in May to improve the situation in their town. An issue on the May 13 primary election ballot in Benwood will, if approved by voters, establish four-year terms for mayor.

We think voters should approve the measure, for the long-term good of their community. Doing so will provide more continuity in office for future mayors and will, at least to some extent, minimize the influence of politics in the office.

Making the change seemed like a good idea in 1974, when it was discussed previously. It seemed like a good idea in 1996, when it also was discussed. It’s still a good idea — and this time, voters ought to follow through and make it happen.