The Davidson town board is not just considering changing from two- to four-year staggered terms. It is actively moving to do so by unilaterally amending the town’s charter, which serves as the basic constitutional governance document. The chosen method of the board members amounts to a usurpation of power.
With their unanimous intention having been declared on April 12, before the public hearing on May 10, the five members of the town board theoretically will have two adoption options when they meet on June 14. To quote from the town’s official website: “The board may choose to adopt the ordinance without a vote from the people, or the board may choose to adopt the ordinance only with the people’s approval” through referendum.
The incumbents have left no doubt as to their undemocratic preference.
However, consider the following:
The governing boards of the towns of Mecklenburg, including the city of Charlotte, are all elected to two-year terms, along with their mayors. Mecklenburg County commissioners are elected for two-year terms. Both houses of the state legislature (Senate and House) and members of the U.S. House of Representatives are elected for two-year terms.
In a democratic republic, the people wish to keep a short leash on those elected to represent them in office. Yet, uniquely, Davidson town board members are attempting to extend their terms in office and, in the process, rob citizens of a fundamental constitutional right.
Why remove further from popular control that level of government that is supposed to be closest to the people?
I have lived in Davidson three separate periods of my life. Never could I have imagined that such a coup would actually be attempted by an elected town board. Either the current members have a tin ear, politically, or they are lacking a historical appreciation of our system of local government.
I appeal to the five men and women, and Mayor Woods: Before the final vote, reconsider the course of action you are set upon. Local self-government is at stake.
– William E. Jackson Jr., Davidson