As a resident of Lawrence since 1976, and a former 20-year elected official of the village, I am absolutely appalled and disgusted by the actions of the losing slate that ran in the recent village election. I believe the way that they ran their campaign was well beyond the pale, and has not occurred in our village for at least the last 46 years — and this probably never occurred in the long history of the village. Happily, the other slate won by an overwhelming majority. I would advise and urge the losing mayoral candidate to immediately resign from his position as village trustee, as well as offer a public apology to the other candidates.
Unfortunately, in recent years, there has been a new phenomenon of “entry-level” candidates running for village office. Previously, candidates showed their dedication and commitment to the village by working for many years on various village boards and commissions or holding major positions in the Lawrence Association prior to considering running for elective office. They demonstrated why their agenda was for the betterment of the entire community, and not a personal agenda. They knew and understood the community. And, as a result, these individuals were generally superb elected officials. As it turns out, the losing slate’s two trustee candidates and their candidate running for village justice were “entry-level” candidates with little or no village experience.
I believe that the subject of eliminating term limits should be seriously considered by the mayor and board of trustees. Term limits in our village have been around for only about 20 years, and we are the only village in our area to have them. Term limits make no sense. We are a small community with a limited number of capable, community minded individuals. If someone is doing a good job, they should be permitted to continue to serve if they so desire and are reelected. If they are not doing a good job, they will likely not be reelected. It’s a simple formula that will go a long way in helping to keep capable people running the village, and, hopefully, filtering out the “entry-level” candidates that may have a personal agenda.
Dr. Jack Levenbrown was the first member of the Orthodox community to be president of the Lawrence Association (1985-88), the first to serve as a village trustee (1988-2002), and the first to serve Lawrence as mayor (2002-2008).