Montezuma County commissioners are delaying a decision on whether to approve proposed November ballot questions to extend term limits for county commission and district attorney.
On April 15, the commissioners voted 3-0 to draft a resolution authorizing a ballot measure to extend commissioner term limits from two terms to three.
An approved resolution for the ballot question must be turned into the county clerk by July 31, but on Tuesday, the commissioners delayed voting until late May to allow time for further review.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people about this, and I think we should let it ride on whether we do it or not, and get more public input,” said Commissioner Larry Don Suckla.
Commissioner Jim Candelaria supported the additional time for “education and public outreach.”
Commissioner Keenan Ertel said his mind is made up on the matter, and he will vote to approve the ballot resolution to extend commissioner term limits. “I don’t see a reason to hash it around more,” he said. “I think this governing board needs to take a stand and be consistent with other term limits in the county.”
The assessor, clerk, treasurer and sheriff all have three, four-year term limits. Currently, commissioners can serve two consecutive, four-year terms and must be elected by vote for each term.
Also on Tuesday, 22nd Judicial District Attorney Will Furse asked the commissioners to approve a ballot question extending the DA’s term limits from two four-year terms to three four-year terms.
Furse tried in the 2018 election to extend term limits, but the measure lost by a nearly 2-1 margin.
Furse continues to advocate for extending the term limits of the DA’s office.
He said having consistent and experienced criminal prosecutors benefits the public, and extending term limits gives voters more freedom at the ballot box.
“Last time I did not campaign enough, and this time I will spend more time campaigning and educating the public on the issue,” Furse said.
“It does not guarantee a third term. The public benefits from experience, and if an official is doing a good job, voters should have the freedom to elect them, at least three times.”
The commissioners said they will consider Furse’s request to put extending the DA term limit on the ballot again. Dolores County would also have to approve putting it on their ballot as well because the 22nd Judicial District includes both counties.
If approved for the ballot, the term limit questions for DA and commissioner would be voted on separately.