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Brookhaven residents to vote on removing mayor’s term limit

The city unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday calling for the election.
The city unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday calling for the election.

Credit: City of Brookhaven

Credit: City of Brookhaven

Citizens in the city of Brookhaven will vote this fall on whether to remove term limits for the mayor.

Currently, the mayor of Brookhaven can only serve for two consecutive four-year terms. If the measure is approved by voters Nov. 3, the mayor would be able to serve for unlimited terms. The change would apply to current Mayor John Ernst and future mayors in the city of 50,000.

A group of citizens who reviewed the city’s charter in 2017 suggested extending the limit from two terms to three. This year, state lawmakers passed legislation that allows the voters to decide whether to eliminate term limits altogether.

The Brookhaven City Council passed a resolution Tuesday officially calling for the question to be added to ballots.

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The question on the ballot will read: “Shall the section of the Act be approved which repeals the provision that limits the terms of the mayor of the City of Brookhaven to allow the voters of Brookhaven to choose the mayor of their choice?”

Ernst was elected to his second term last November by a large margin, winning two thirds of the vote. He has not said whether he would run for a third term if voters choose to remove his term limit.

A 2018 analysis by the Georgia Municipal Association found it’s fairly uncommon for a Georgia city to set mayoral term limits. Only about 4% of Georgia’s nearly 540 cities have set mayoral term limits, the GMA found.

Larger, urban cities are more likely to have term limits. Atlanta, Savannah, Augusta and Macon all hold their mayors to a limit of two four-year terms. So do some smaller metro Atlanta cities like Alpharetta, Dunwoody and Peachtree City, according to the GMA.

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