Mayoral term limits are on the ballot for Warren residents for the second time in four years.
In 2016, Warren residents voted in favor of a city charter amendment extending mayoral term limits from three terms to five. That item was added to the ballot based on an opinion of a former city attorney, who believed the language of the charter allowed city council members to run for more than three terms.
However, three city council members attempting to run for a fourth term in 2019 had their names removed from the ballot following a Michigan Supreme Court ruling against the opinion of the former Warren attorney.
“This is about having equal term limits for everyone in the city going forward.” — Patrick Green, Warren City Council President
Warren City Council President Patrick Green says because the mayoral term limit item was added to the 2016 ballot based on bad information, voters will have a chance to undo the change in this year’s general election.
“So now for us to correct this,” says Green, “we have to go back to the voters and say, ‘you were given bad information… Would you like to correct it?”
Warren Mayor Jim Fouts, who opposes the ballot item, has publicly accused city council members of attempting to grab power by removing him from office. Green calls Fouts’ claims an attempt at misinformation.
“This isn’t about Fouts,” says Green. “This is about longer than that. This is about having equal term limits for everyone in the city going forward. This is not about him.”
Green says Fouts, who was re-elected to a fourth term in office since the 2016 item was adopted, would be allowed to finish his remaining three years as mayor but could not run again after that if voters approve the change.
Fouts did not respond to WDET’s request for comment.