Opinion

EDITORIAL Four-year terms

The provincial government is planning to increase municipal election terms to four years, rather than the current three.

That means when Nelson voters go to the polls in November to vote for a mayor and council, as well as school trustees, they have to live with their decision for an extra year.

It’s a good move that will be financially beneficial as well as help local government run more efficiently.

Obviously by adding an extra year, the  frequency of the expensive balloting process will diminish. Less frequent municipal elections mean less cost.

But the benefit goes much deeper than that.

Ask any political insider and they will tell you that a first-term councillor is less effective than a veteran — at least at the beginning.

It doesn’t matter how well their intentions, a newly elected official has to go through a learning process and that takes time.

Once they have been briefed on city details, learned the proper procedures and etiquette that go along with being a councillor and familiarized themselves with city staff and policy, often their term is half over.

By increasing the term to four years, new councillors have an opportunity to make a difference — like they said they would with all their campaign promises.

Many city projects take several years to become a reality. It doesn’t help that they sometimes have to be handed over to a new person.

Add to that the fact that a second -term politician is looking at four uninterrupted years to work on plans and projects, resulting in a much more stable form of local government.

Also, a four-year term requires a longer commitment by the politician, which should result in better candidates.

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