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