Tel Aviv municipality building..
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Nearly 100 local council members from around the country launched a campaign called “Refresh Local Government” on Tuesday to limit mayors to two terms.
The initiative, started by Kfar Saba Local Council member Ilai Harsgor-Hendin (Meretz), came in response to recent corruption allegations against Netanya Mayor Miriam Feirberg, who has been in office since 1998. Feirberg was arrested last week on suspicion of accepting bribes from real-estate developers in exchange for fast-tracking their projects.
Several long-serving mayors have been convicted on corruption charges in recent years.
The local council members’ letter supporting term limits said that the incidents show that “power corrupts... and as time passes loyalty to the rule of law disappears and is replaced with hunger for power.”
Harsgor-Hendin said mayors are reelected several times, less because of their skills and more because they eventually accrue a massive system to work in their favor.
“The current law encourages corruption for the simple reason that it gives local authority leaders unlimited power that only grows stronger over the years,” he said.
There currently are no term limits for mayors, and each term is five years long.
Harsgor-Hendin said a 10-year term is enough time for any mayor to realize his or her vision, and then it is time for renewal.