Spencer votes ‘yes’ on longer, staggered terms

Published 10:18 pm Tuesday, November 2, 2021

SPENCER — A pair of ballot referendums that will increase the length of terms for elected officials in Spencer passed easily on Tuesday.

The first measure will increase the terms of Board of Aldermen members from two years to four. The second increases the mayor’s term from two to four as well. The measures do not affect the terms of the currently elected board or the contest on Tuesday.

Both measures passed with more than 63% in favor of the extensions. There were 167 votes cast in favor of longer aldermen terms and 166 in favor of a longer term for mayor. There were 96 “no” votes for each.

The changes will begin in 2023, with the three highest vote-getters for aldermen as well as the winner of the race for mayor getting four-year terms. The remaining three seats will serve two-year terms. When the shorter term seats come up for reelection in 2025, they will become four-year terms as well.

This will stagger the board terms. Currently, all six seats on the board and mayor come up for election every two years.

The current board has pushed for the change recently, citing improved continuity between future boards with the changes. The board could have made the change with a vote by its members after holding a public hearing, but it opted to put the changes up to a vote on the ballot for approval.

The town’s board of aldermen held a public hearing in August on the issue, with no comments surfacing.

The town board race on Tuesday was not competitive. Patti Secreast, Steve Miller, Pat Sledge and Sam Morgan were all reelected. Rashid Muhammad and Andrew Howe will come in as new aldermen. Incumbents Bob Bish and Sharon Hovis did not run for reelection. Mayor Jonathan Williams also won re-election without competition.