Toronto voters to consider staggered terms

TORONTO — Leaders in Toronto are asking those who vote Nov. 5 to change the current way city council is set up.

Currently, all council members are elected at the same time every two years.

Some council members said the city would be better off by establishing staggered terms and changing them to four-year terms. They feel this will eliminate the chance of a brand new, inexperienced, council starting at the same time with no senior members to help offer guidance and advice.

Also, Council President Frank McEwen said the change to a four year term will allow council members to work on long-term and larger projects.

“Through discussion on council, it was felt that by having council members serving four-year terms that we could better serve the community on a more continuous basis,” he said. “As all members of council currently sit only on a two-year term, while it is not likely, it is possible to have a large if not completely new council in a single election.”

McEwen said council supports the measure.

“Council felt it was a benefit to the citizens to have the members serve four-year terms and do so in a staggered manner, which should allow for a more efficient and effective management of the city of Toronto government. As it currently is, the city’s mayor, auditor and treasurer are the only part of our administration that are elected to a four-year term.”

If passed, the change would happen in steps. The council president and member of council at large will serve one more two-year term beginning Jan. 1, but then in 2022 they will go up for re-election for a four-year term.

Ward council members will start their four-year terms in 2020.


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