Ask The Mayor

January 22, 2010 by  
Filed under Ask The Mayor

January 2010

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and of course a happy new year!  This month’s question is: “Are we voting again on four year terms for mayor and city council?  I thought we just did that a few years ago.”

The simple answer is that there is a referendum on the ballot for Tybee voters in November 2010 about this issue.  A vote in the affirmative would give the mayor and council four year terms.  Should the referendum obtain a majority of votes, the first election cycle which would be affected would be the 2011 Tybee municipal elections.  For the first election under this possible new system, the winning candidate for mayor and top three council candidates would get four year terms and the fourth through sixth place council candidates would get two year terms.  In 2013, those three two year council seats would be on the ballot.  The three winning candidates and would get four year terms.  In 2015, the mayor’s seat three seats that were in the top three in 2011 would be on the ballot and subsequently all successful candidates for mayor and council would serve four year terms.

The issue was placed on the ballot for 2010 after the previous council (the one that served from 2008-2009) voted to ask the state legislature to place it on the ballot.  Our state legislators all agreed to this and consequently the referendum is on the ballot for 2011.

It is also true that this issue was recently on the ballot on Tybee and was emphatically rejected by the citizens.  Many felt that the referendum was defeated because it took place during the same election cycle as a Tybee municipal election leading to some confusion over which candidates would get four year terms.  Some felt the ballot language wasn’t clear enough.  And of course many others simply felt that the voters wanted to keep two year terms for the mayor and council.  I am optimistic that the next eleven months will give us a chance to analyze the pros and cons of four year terms and we can–one way or the other–put this issue to rest once and for all.

Thanks for the great question!
Jason Buelterman

Send questions to “Ask the Mayor,” City of Tybee Island, P.O. Box 2749, Tybee Island, GA 31328, or e-mail them with an “Ask the Mayor” header to

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