PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Earlier this year lawmakers passed term limits for county school board members, and now the state legislature is turning its attention to term limits for county commissioners.
Senate Bill 438 would impose a limit of two 4-year terms for county commissioners. Bay County Commissioner Bill Dozier, who has served on the board for nearly 20 years, is not a fan of the idea.
“If they are wanting to limit the time for county commissioners, to be in office, then my thought on that is that every four years, county commissioners are up for reelection and the people that live in Bay County have the option to vote for them or vote against them,” Dozier said.
District 6 State Representative, Griff Griffitts was a Bay County Commissioner for nearly seven years before going to the statehouse.
“It was a blink of an eye and it really does take some time to get adjusted once you’re elected, you don’t just jump in immediately and know everything, it takes sometimes years to get acclimated,” Griffitts said.
Dozier said there is value to a commissioner knowing the ins and outs of the local government.
“We speak to the people who live in Bay County on a daily basis, we see them in the grocery store, we see them at church, we’ll see them around town and they’re constantly coming up and and sharing with us what they think about whatever issues before us,” Dozier said.
Jackson County Board of Commissioners Chairman Paul Donofro said in general he’s in favor of term limits but admits they could cause issues for rural counties.
“In some rural counties where maybe resources are not as great as large counties and they’re not able to pay their county commissioners much, a lot of times you have people serving in that capacity. Just to do the service,” Donofro said.
Griffitts said this bill has a long way to go before it would go to a vote in the House. If it becomes law, it will go into effect on July 1st of next year.