Charlotte Mayor, City Council Consider 4-Year Terms

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CHARLOTTE, N.C.,None - You vote for Charlotte city leaders every two years, but that could soon change.

The mayor and city council are toying with the idea of four-year terms. If they go that route, they might tackle more problems and worry less about getting quick results to win votes.

Then again, two-year terms may give voters more choices because more people may be willing to take on the shorter commitment, and voters can get rid of leaders they don't like more quickly.

Republican council member Warren Cooksey said, "You're constantly in front of the voters, every two years, to remind them, ‘Here's the course. That's what we're going to stay on.'"

Eyewitness News e-mailed Catawba College professor Michael Bitzer to see how long terms are in other cities. He said most, about 60 percent, go with four-year terms. The rest, like Charlotte, Houston and Dallas -- to some degree, have two-year jobs.

City leaders can't extend their own terms. They can only do it for future mayors and council members. They could make the change themselves or by putting it on the ballot and voters approving it. Either way, they wouldn't need state approval.

You could see city leaders tackle other issues associated with this, like whether to stagger their terms and whether to change the number of at-large and district seats.