Mayor Bill White today announced the appointment of a blue-ribbon Commission on term limits. This Commission was created by an ordinance adopted unanimously by City Council. The commission will prepare a report analyzing the impact of term limitations adopted as part of Houston’s City Charter in 1993. This commission will make recommendations concerning any changes to the length of the terms that an individual could serve. The commission is not authorized by the ordinance to recommend an abolition of term limits.
According to Mayor White, “We need to examine whether the city of Houston has the right length of terms and number of terms based on the experiences of citizens in this community. There is a balance between wanting to prevent incumbents from becoming too entrenched and the need to maintain some experience in the elected leadership so that a career official in city government is accountable to informed elected officials. The members of this commission reflect a diverse leadership group within our city.”
The Commission shall make its recommendations and report by July 1, 2010, and shall be disbanded after this time. Any changes in term limits recommended by the Term Limits Commission would have to be voted on by the public in order to be effective. According to the commission proposed by Mayor White, Mayor White would not be eligible for any service as Mayor, regardless of changes recommended by the Commission for any other City officials.
Arthur Schechter, a former Chairman of the Metropolitan Transit Authority and former U.S. Ambassador to the Bahamas, was designated by Mayor White as Chair. Claudia Williamson was nominated by Controller Annise Parker as as Vice-Chair. Williamson was the founding Chair of Blue Print Houston. She has served on many business and non-profit boards including the Houston Read Commission and the Houston Area Water Corporation.
The commission is composed of six members nominated by Mayor White, including the Chair, a Vice-Chair (nominated by the City Controller); and the balance of 15 members nominated by City Council. Those members are: Frumencio Reyes, Council Member Toni Lawrence, Christina Cabral, Sylvia K. Brooks, John L. Nau, Jane Cahill West, Kathryn Chace-McNiel, Ed Wulfe, Thomas Jones, Jr., Ester King, Dorothy Miller, William A. Jordan, Robert M. Stein, Theodore L. Deaver, Carrol G. Robinson, Anan Qaddumi, Edward J. Cummins, Jr., James S. Bowie, and Diana Davila Martinez.