Term limits for City Council members, which voters approved by a ratio of nearly 3 to 1 in 1994, have finally become law.
The council decided this week to confirm a mandate of the voters, who overwhelmingly favored a two-term limit for council members in November 1994.
At that time, the state did not allow general law cities such as Tustin to enact term limits, city officials said.
The state changed that law in 1996, but the city’s situation fell into a gray area legally because residents had voted on the issue before the state law was passed, city officials said.
So last year, special legislation was approved specifically for Tustin, which would allow the city to confirm the residents’ mandate. The new legislation took effect Jan. 1.
The council voted 3 to 2 Monday to approve the term limits, with two of the measure’s strongest supporters, Mike Doyle and Jim Potts, dissenting. Doyle and Potts said they disagreed with a clause that will allow future council members the option of revoking the term limits.
“If the citizens say it’s two terms, no one should be able to override it, least of all the City Council of Tustin,” Doyle said. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s a done deal, and [for the current council] to say we don’t want to tie the hands of future councils is ludicrous.”
Mayor Tracy Wills Worley defended the decision, which was supported by council members Thomas R. Saltarelli and Jeffery M. Thomas.
“I certainly support term limits, but I don’t think a council has the right to determine policy for any future councils in general,” Worley said.