Term-limited city council members can't run for Reno mayor
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Under a Nevada Supreme Court ruling issued today, termed-out members of Reno City Council cannot run for mayor.
Reno mayoral candidate and businessman Eddie Lorton brought the petition to the court, arguing that council members who are termed out because they have served for twelve years are also ineligible to serve on that same governing body in the position of mayor.
The court's 5-2 decision means current Councilman Dwight Dortch and former Councilwoman Jessica Sferazza cannot run in this year's election even though both have been raising money for their campaigns.
Speaking with KUNR late last year, Eddie Lorton said that term limits keep local leaders from becoming career politicians.
"I mean, even the president of the United States can only do eight years," Lorton says. "They've done twelve. No citizen council was ever meant to be twenty-four years. That isn't the intent. It's not meant to be a career."
Fred Lokken, a professor of political science at Truckee Meadows Community College, describes serving on city council as the best training ground for any future mayor because that person is learning the complex issues facing a multimillion-dollar-operation like the City.
"We are going to have a lot of people who at best will have months of on-the-job training if they're elected a mayor," he explains. "You know, for any city in this post-Great Recession period, you would want the best experience possible and this is going to deny voters an opportunity to consider some very qualified candidates for mayor."
Lokken says the Nevada Supreme Court's decision blows this year's mayoral race wide open, potentially to candidates with limited working knowledge of the City:
"We are probably going to see a very large roster of candidates for mayor, so we're going to have people who have little or no direct experience with the City of Reno wanting to become, if you will, the executive of the City. And I think that for voters, it's going to be a very confusing process into the November election."
Filing for the race begins March 3rd. Long-time mayor Bob Cashell is not seeking reelection.