Where do you stand on term lengths for mayor and council, three years or four?

City hall is proposing to increase mayoral and city council terms to four years from three. Northern News Services asks mayoral and city council candidates what term length they support. Answers will be posted as we receive them.

Niels Konge, city council candidate

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3 years.

Robin Williams, city council candidate

I'm in support of 4 year terms for mayor and council. I think it's important for governments to be given time to implement their mandate from the people and for most governments in North America that term is usually 4 years. This change of policy seems reasonable to me.

William Gomes, city councillor

Shorter term and more elections cost more taxpayers money. Since the candidates are chosen by the citizens of our town, I am sure by casting their vote they choose the right person for the right time for the right reason. Therefore, I would like the same citizens to make that choice for their chosen one. I want the citizens of Yellowknife to share their opinions with me. I am to represent their voice, their values and their concerns to our council. So, I would like to act on their call.

Bob Stewart, mayoral candidate

I am OK with whatever the voters decide. However, shorter terms can limit the damage of poor leadership.

Cynthia Mufandaedza, city council candidate

A 4-year term would allow the Mayor and Council to develop and implement the comprehensive changes, sometimes controversial, that a growing city like Yellowknife requires.  Having four-year mayoral terms is clearly a step toward a longer-term planning strategy.

Julian Morse, city council candidate

This is a question which requires careful consideration by citizens. While 4-year terms have some advantages and have been widely adopted by municipalities across Canada, in my research on the subject, I have found several examples of municipalities which regretted extending term lengths. On the other hand, I have not found much evidence showing that 4-year terms actually achieve the advantages they are touted to. It seems that whether or not a 4-year term is advantageous can depend a lot on the dynamics of a particular council. I am also concerned 4-year terms could be a deterrent to potential candidates and to councillors who might seek a second term. For these reasons, I am ultimately in favour of maintaining 3-year terms. Of course, I will happily serve a 4-year term if re-elected and that is the choice of residents.

Rommel Silverio, city council candidate

Majority of Canadian cities have now moved into four-year term for mayor and council and I think Yellowknife is ready to take this move. Elections cost money; conducting an election every four years can result in some dollar savings. The best thing about having an election is that citizens have the power to elect leaders who they believe will best represent them in the council. That is why everybody should come out to vote and be heard.

Jerald Sibbeston, mayoral candidate

I specifically want to leave this up to the public. It is simply their choice. I will respect that choice if elected.

Mark Bogan, city council candidate

The current status quo of three years seems fine. I would prefer our voters decide this issue with a referendum.

Edwin Castillo, city council candidate

Arguments can be made for both terms; however I’m more inclined towards maintaining the 3 years since councillors and the mayor would be held more accountable towards voters for their decisions and actions.

Adrian Bell, mayoral candidate

We’re one of the few cities left in Canada with three-year terms, and there is a good reason others have made the switch - four year terms lead to more effective councils. They spend more of their time getting things done and less time either learning the ropes or electioneering.

John Dalton, city council candidate

If we have an effective council then a fourth year would be good. Generally the fourth year should give a council an opportunity to implement their major programs and policies.

Stacie Smith, city council candidate  

This is my first attempt at running for council. I am not able to speak on the pros and cons on the term length but I have heard from other councillors that a three year term was not enough time to see certain programs or bylaws pass through the municipal system.

Shauna Morgan, city council candidate

There are pros and cons to both, and I am prepared to serve either term length. I think there are more benefits to a four year term as it would allow councillors more time to get a handle on their job—which almost no one has prior training or experience in. Once councillors have time to understand the background history behind issues and how city facilities and programs are actually administered, we have a stronger basis for trying to improve them. Holding elections less often would also save city taxpayers money. And a four year term aligns with other levels of government.

Dane Mason, city council candidate

Not a hill I’d die on. The public will decide on October 15 and I’ll abide by that, as everyone will. Personally I like three, because it means we have to check in for a mandate more often so we stay relevant, but I see the argument of giving a new council more time to get up to speed.

Rebecca Alty, mayoral council

A four year term is my preference, for a few reasons: (1) More time in between elections can provide greater public certainty and stability of government; (2) It provides an extra year in the mandate to get things done before mayor and council begins focusing on re-election; (3) It will save money in the long term (2018’s election is budgeted at $94,000).

Chris Gillander, city council candidate

I would like to see the council term moved to a four-year term as a longer duration on council between elections will ensure councillors have more time to fulfill their mandates.  This will also decrease the long-term burden of election costs on taxpayers, who pay for the resources and manpower to administer the election.

Terry Testart, city council candidate

Three years.

Josh Campbell, city council candidate

Four, to line up with our other levels of government. I also think three years is not enough time for a municipal council to accomplish any capital project, or measure success of any programs or policies.

Steve Payne, city council candidate

It really doesn't matter to me, the voters will make that decision, I’m here to serve.