The next Westminster mayor will serve four years instead of the current two, with no terms limits after voters approved the change in last month’s election.
Westminster city council members certified the election results at a June 27 council meeting.
Voters approved a ballot measure June 5 that will take effect at the end of the current mayor’s term in November, 2018, meaning the mayor elected in the General Municipal Election on Nov. 6 will serve a four–year term.
The measure passed with 51.7 percent voting “yes” to increase the mayor’s term and 48.3 percent voting “no,” or 7,925 votes to 7,397, a 528 vote difference.
The ballot measure was proposed by Councilmember Tyler Diep who said the move would put the mayor on “equal footing” with Westminster council members who are already elected to four-year terms and would “reduce the constant pressure on the mayor to campaign, and provide more time to focus on policy and governance,” Voice of OC previously reported.
Mayor Tri Ta has held the position since 2012 and will run for his fourth term as mayor in November.
The measure drew opposition and support from city residents when it went before the City Council Feb. 28.
More than half of the 24 speakers at the February meeting opposed the ballot measure, calling it a “power grab” and a “waste of taxpayer dollars.”
In a ballot argument in favor of Measure E, Vice Chair of the Community Services and Recreation Commission Ryan Billings and Vice President of the Westminster School District Khanh Nguyen said the change would “curb the power of special interests in Westminster, reduce city government dysfunction” and “focuses the Mayor on governing, not campaigning.”
In a ballot argument against the proposed change, Westminster resident Mark Lawrence said the measure is “nothing but an imbecilic move by city hall to retain power.”
“In times of crisis we need leadership not silence and this measure ensures that there is no accountability at city hall,” Lawrence said in the rebuttal to the argument in favor of Measure E on the ballot.
At the June 27 meeting, council members adopted three resolutions to initiate the election process, including putting the election of the mayor and two council members on the November ballot.
According to Wednesday’s agenda staff report, the nomination filing period for the mayoral seat will be from July 16 through Aug. 10.
Kassidy Dillon is a Voice of OC intern. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org