City leaders in Westfield have voted to override Mayor Andy Cook’s veto of an ordinance establishing term limits for elected officials.
The ordinance, which was originally passed in a 5-2 vote during the council’s Nov. 28 meeting, came back before the council Dec. 12 after Cook vetoed the legislation a week prior. The proposed ordinance was originally introduced by City Councilman Troy Patton in October.
Under the ordinance, council members and the mayor would not be eligible to run for more than two four-year terms, while the clerk-treasurer would not be eligible for election for more than three four-year terms. Cook has been in office since 2008, while Clerk-Treasurer Cindy Gossard was initially appointed in 2001 and has been reelected to four-year terms since 2003.
Concerns have been raised about the legality of the ordinance as some council members such as Willis said it would lead to legal challenges. City Attorney Manny Herceg told the council at its Nov. 28 meeting that he believed the ordinance “would not pass legal muster” if it were challenged in court and would be overturned.
The ordinance was vetoed Dec. 6 by Cook and went before the council during its latest meeting. The council voted 5-2 with Spoljaric and Willis against the legislation, which would affect elected positions beginning in January 2024.
Meanwhile, Cook held a press conference at the Westfield City Services Center Dec. 13 to outline his reasons for vetoing the ordinance.
“The reason that I elected to veto was not based on the merits of term limits. It was solely based on the legality of such,” Cook said.
Cook was asked by a reporter whether the veto had anything to do with his potential plans for another term, but indicated that wasn’t the case.
“I have not even made that decision yet,” Cook said.
Cook added that he was unsure how soon the city could anticipate any possible legal challenges to the ordinance.