Isn’t it time to limit the public service of all individuals by adopting term limits? Haven’t we all witnessed enough fraud, malfeasance, and misappropriation of public funds by now to realize that by allowing individuals to serve endless terms in office, power becomes entrenched and concentrated in the hands of a few? Despots, tyrants, dictators, and God have unlimited terms. Democracy thrives on the participation of the many, not just the few.
An effective internal control system necessitates rotation of duties. Without such, individuals are more likely to perpetuate and conceal acts in violation of public trust. It is not unreasonable to limit an individual’s service in a public office to no more than two terms. We limit the term of the President of the United States to two terms; in fact, none other than Richard Nixon proposed a one term limitation to the holding of public office of six years duration. Recall that Watergate occurred because of his desire to win a second term of office. Imagine how different our history might have been written if he had only been allowed to serve one term in office.
Of course, term limits apply to public positions at the local level as well. In fact, there may even be a greater need for term limits at the town level of government than at the national and state levels since a municipality often lacks adquate funds for a full-time, independent, and sufficiently-staffed internal audit department to monitor its personnel and operations on an ongoing basis. The general public is often unaware that annual financial audits performed by outside certified public accountants are not designed to detect fraud. Unfortunately, fraud investigations are typically initiated only after the malfeasance and misappropriation have already occurred.
Perhaps it is time for the citizens of Berlin, Connecticut and those of every municipality to consider the terms of their presently elected officials and to determine if it is time for a healthy change of public officials. The Red Cross recognizes the need for fresh blood; and so should the residents of Berlin, Connecticut and those of other towns throughout the United States. Rotation of duties is essential to any good internal control system and should be implemented in the public as well as in the private sphere in order to mitigate any possible abuses of entrenched power.