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Supporters of Cincinnati Issue 4 hold press event

Tana Weingartner

Cincinnati residents will vote next week on a charter amendment that would allow city council members to serve four-year terms instead of the current two.  

Both sides have been debating the issue since a council majority placed it on the ballot in August.  

The group Citizens for Common Sense is urging a “yes” vote and held a press conference Tuesday.  

Business owner and philanthropist Otto Budig supports longer-terms.

“The opposition has this kind of throw the bums out mentality,” Budig said.  “Well people have a right and a responsibility to vet these candidates well before the election.  And if they vet the right candidates, four years will be an exceptionally good amount of time for these people to serve the city.”

Supporters said longer terms will make Council more productive and allow members to focus on bigger public policy issues.  

But opponents disagree.  They held their own press conference last week.  

Former Council Member Chris Bortz is urging residents to vote “no” on Issue 4.  

He argued it's a misrepresentation to say other city's competing with Cincinnati have four year council terms.

“86% of the cities that have 4 year terms, also have some other form of electoral system that’s different from ours,” Bortz said.  “Not just 9 members of council elected at large, but a hybrid system where some members are elected directly from neighborhoods or districts, or where they’re all elected directly from districts.  And some of those cities on the list have metropolitan government.  It’s comparing apples and oranges.”

Opponents say Council can get big things done in two years if it wants too.  

Even with longer terms, members would still only be able to serve for eight years and that would apply to the current Council.

(Otto Budig sits on the Cincinnati Public Radio board of directors.)

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.