City must reconsider term limits

Let’s talk about term limits in Tukwila. Some people believe that term limits are not needed. They say “Let the voters decide.”

Fair enough for the mayoral and city council races, but what about appointed positions on boards and commissions?

It has been customary for a long time to allow incumbent board members and commissioners to remain in their positions as long as they want.

At the same time, those who decide on the appointments will tell you that they do not intend that re-appointments be automatic. So what goes on here? The answer is that in earlier years, the population of Tukwila was much smaller.

It was difficult to get top rate individuals to apply for volunteer positions. This city now has many talented, educated, reasonable people many of whom would be willing to volunteer if asked and if the openings are there. Term limits will help make that possible.

Most of us are limited in our view of the world for reasons that are obvious if we are honest about it. Each of us have ways of thinking that are unlikely to change. The point here is that boards and commissions need new blood from time to time. People with different life experiences and ways of thinking can and often do offer innovative ideas and novel approaches to today’s challenges.

The planning commission is one of the most critical decision-making and advisory bodies in Tukwila.

Having served from 2006 to 2010 including one year as chair, I can offer some thoughts. Each term is four years. There are six resident positions and one business position.

I suggest that a member serve no more than two full terms or eight years. Sometimes a commissioner is up for re-appointment and has already put in five, six maybe even seven years. Should they be re-appointed? Smarter people than me can figure that out. The mayor and city council should make a serious effort to see that the six resident positions are filled by people that do not have significant business interests in Tukwila.

I encourage the mayor and city council to explore the possibilities and then to establish a term limit policy with some flexibility.

Three seats on the planning commission expire at the end of this year. Another fifteen to eighteen appointments on other boards will end at the same time. It is unclear if the city will advertise these openings if the incumbent wishes to serve another term. However, the mayor will consider applications.

Are you ready to go for it and to learn?

Reach Parrish at


More in Opinion

Washington State Capitol Building. File photo
Editorial: Taxpayers deserve down payment on tax reforms

By The Herald Editorial Board Reform of the state’s tax system wasn’t… Continue reading

Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon and Page Carson Foster. Photo credit Washington State Legislative Support Services
Carson Foster serves as page in Washington State House

The following was submitted to the Reporter: Carson Foster, a student at… Continue reading

State Dems may abandons caucus chaos in time for 2020

Washington also is considering becoming more significant by moving its primary to early March.

Are sheriffs above the law?

Washington voters have spoken on I-1639. Sheriffs need to set the stage to follow their oath of office - and enforce the law.

Parking issues should be addressed now rather than later

So let’s have a little update on Tukwila Village. Construction on the… Continue reading

Two commissioner positions available this year

For The Reporter The Tukwila Pool Metropolitan Park District (TPMPD) is a… Continue reading

Especially in an election year, our elected should do better

At first glance, the reinstitution of the Hazelnut, Issue 1 — looks,… Continue reading

When tomorrow becomes today: King County cities must tackle affordable housing

Microsoft has started the regional dialogue, but will cities rise to the challenge?

Representation matters

By Flip Herndon Tukwila Superintendent During the month of February we may… Continue reading

Why public libraries matter more than ever in the Information Age

Occasionally, someone unfamiliar with King County Library System will say to me… Continue reading

Tukwila Pool welcomes new water aerobics classes

By Laci Jamison The Tukwila Pool is excited to announce that we… Continue reading

With city budgets, come tough choices

In a previous column, I briefly touched on how our new public… Continue reading