Fairborn voters to decide on mayoral term length, other proposals

Local News

Fairborn voters will get to decide on some proposed changes to the city’s charter this May.

Among the issues on the ballot: extending the length of the mayor’s term in office from two years to four years.

According to Mayor Paul Keller, Fairborn’s city council members already have four-year terms, but not the mayor. 

Mayor Keller, who has been in office for about a year, argues two years is not enough time.

“It’s distracting to have to go into a campaign mode every other year,” he said.

Keller said he hopes to see the term length for Fairborn mayor extended to four years. It’s appearing as Issue 5 on the May ballot.

Mayors would remain limited to two consecutive terms, Keller said.

Both the mayor and council members would still be required to take a two-year break after serving two consecutive terms in each office, according to Pete Bales, assistant city manager.

Keller points to other nearby cities that also elect their mayors every four years. He said he believes fewer changes in leadership could help get more things done for city residents.

“With a two-year term for mayor, Fairborn doesn’t get considered for a lot of those positions at the regional level, whether it’s on a planning board or a conservancy board,” Mayor Keller said.

Voters who spoke with 2 NEWS shared varying opinions.

“I don’t have any issues with it, but I don’t see any benefits either,” said Sheila Walker, who lives in Fairborn.

“I think it would actually probably be more effective for them to be able to make some positive changes,” said Melissa Donaldson, another Fairborn resident.

Other proposals on the ballot in Fairborn include a change to the qualifying reasons for the city council’s executive sessions, allowing emergency ordinances to remain in place after six months and reducing the number of signatures needed for a candidate to run for city office from 100 to 50.

If Issue 5 is approved, Mayor Keller said, it will not lengthen his current term. He would still have to run for reelection in November, and the person who wins that race would be the first to hold a four-year term, he said.

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