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Herndon Town Council drops attempt to double council terms

Town of Herndon government offices (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Terms for Herndon Town Council members will remain unchanged after the council unanimously agreed to drop a proposal to increase the term from two to four years.

The council voted on Tuesday (Sept. 26) to remove consideration of the item from its legislative program for the Virginia General Assembly’s 2024 session. A similar effort came up almost a decade ago but was dropped by a previous council after lack of public support.

Changing term limits would require an amendment to the town charter and the state’s constitution. Councilmember Clark Hedrick described the proposal as “self-indulgent.”

“If people aren’t clamoring for four-year terms, I’m not sure we are the appropriate people to be necessarily asking for it,” Hedrick said.

But Councilmember Donielle Scherff emphasized that the current council would not be directly impacted by the change if it was approved. She noted that the council could look into two-year staggered terms so that it wouldn’t start from scratch every two years.

“I don’t know if that’s self indulgent,” Scherff said, stating that running for election every two years isn’t easy and requires staff to acclimate new council members every other year.

Councilmember Pradip Dhakal said the intention of the proposal was to provide more continuity.

“There’s nothing political about this. It’s all about bringing continuity to the government,” Dhakal said.

Mayor Sheila Olem emphasized that the council shouldn’t pass the proposal if it didn’t have significant support from the current council.

“You always need to make sure that this is something that you have someone to carry,” Olem said.

She said the public didn’t appear to support the proposal when it came up in 2014. It was discussed again last year.

Ultimately, Dhakal removed the pitch from the town’s legislative program.

As approved, the legislative program includes a push for the state to expand where localities are allowed to place photo speed monitoring devices. They’re currently allowed in school zones and work zones.

Fairfax County has cameras in place at eight sites under an ongoing pilot program.

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