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The notion of term limits, particularly for elected officials, is gaining momentum across the country. The distrust of the electorate's wisdom to vote undesirable people out of office is being replaced by strictures on how long they can serve. Most planning boards, whether elected or appointed, do not have term limits and in some communities it is not unusual to have at least some members who serve ten, fifteen years or longer.
When is enough enough? Is it advantageous to have formal term limits or are there other ways to balance the need for fresh ideas with wisdom and institutional memory? ...
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Elaine Cogan, founding principal of the Portland, Oregon planning and communications firm of Cogan Owens Cogan, has consulted for more than 36 years with communities undertaking strategic planning and visioning processes. Cogan has been honored for her work on a variety of citizen involvement projects.