Distinguishing himself from his corrupt peers, Pinellas County Commissioner Norm Roche is launching his first re-election campaign with a promise to abide by the county’s voter-approved 8-year term limits.
As reported earlier, Pinellas is the only county in Florida that refuses to enforce its county commission term limits, even after the unanimous 2012 Supreme Court decision that such limits are constitutional. While term-limited Pinellas Commissioners Susan Latvala, Karen Seel, John Morroni and Ken Welch continue to battle the people in the courts, they also continue to serve on the commission.
Roche, on the other hand, told the Tampa Bay Times in their 2014 candidate questionnaire that he promises to “to honor my pledge to adhere to the will of the voters on term limits and only seek two terms.”
Pinellas County commission term limits were approved by 72 percent of the voters in 1996. Per the county charter Article VI Sec. 6-02 (3): “If approved by a majority of those electors voting on the amendment at the general election, the amendment shall become effective on the date specified in the amendment, or, if not so specified, on January 1 of the succeeding year.”
While a court can invalidate an amendment, there is no leeway here for the commissioners to do so by themselves. Recognizing this, Roche deserves credit for adhering to the people’s clearly expressed will even at his own expense.