City leaders in Westfield have approved an ordinance in a split vote that establishes term limits for elected officials starting in January 2024, but it could face legal challenges.
Westfield City Council members voted 5-2 during their Nov. 28 meeting to pass the ordinance, which was initially introduced in October by City Councilman Troy Patton. City Council members Cindy Spoljaric and Scott Willis voted against the ordinance.
Under the ordinance, council members and the mayor would not be eligible for election for more than two four-year terms, while the clerk-treasurer would not be eligible for election for more than three four-year terms. Mayor Andy Cook has been in office since 2008, while Clerk-Treasurer Cindy Gossard was initially appointed in 2001 and has been reelected to four-year terms since 2003.
Still, some council members, such as Willis, questioned the legality of the council passing the ordinance, saying he believed there was a “high probability” the city would get sued.
“I just see this being full of landmines that we’re going to have to navigate,” Willis said. “From a fiscal conservative standpoint, I don’t think this is a good use of taxpayer dollars.”
City Attorney Manny Herceg also spoke to the council, saying he believes the ordinance “would not pass legal muster” if it were challenged in court and would be overturned. He added that he believes it is a significant enough issue that would make its way to the Supreme Court as well.