Holcomb signs bill overturning Westfield term limits law


A term limits ordinance established by Westfield city leaders in December 2022 has been overturned after Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill into law.

Westfield City Council members initially passed an ordinance in a 5-2 vote Nov. 28 that stipulated city council members and the mayor would not be eligible to run for more than two terms, while the clerk-treasurer would not be eligible for more than three terms. Each term is for four years.

The ordinance, however, came back to the council during its Dec. 12 meeting after Mayor Andy Cook vetoed the legislation a week prior. Council members decided to override Cook’s veto of the law, which is now dead after Holcomb signed Senate Bill 106 into law April 5.

Under the legislation introduced by State Sen. Jim Buck, R-Kokomo, an ordinance, resolution or order concerning certain elections adopted by a municipality or unit of government before Jan. 1, 2023, is voided. Holcomb’s approval regarding the bill now means that Westfield’s law is no longer in effect.

Concerns had been raised about the legality of the city’s ordinance as some council members such as Scott Willis, who is running for mayor, 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.

Under the city’s ordinance, which was proposed by City Councilman Troy Patton in October, it would have affected elected offices starting in January 2024. Cook, who declined to run for a fifth term earlier this year, held a press conference at the Westfield City Services Center the day after the ordinance made its way back to the council to explain his reasons for vetoing it in the first place.

“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 at the press conference.