Boston City Council Votes to Extend Terms to Four Years

Mayor Walsh is mum on the proposal.

Should the term of a Boston City Councilor be four years instead of two? The councilors seem to think so.

On Wednesday, the Boston City Council voted to extend their own terms to four years by an 8-1 vote. City Council President Michelle Wu was the only council member who opposed the measure. Dorchester City Councilor Frank Baker proposed the measure on the grounds that it would save the city roughly $1.6 million by doing away with low turnout mid-term elections for councilors and rolling all municipal elections into a quadrennial exercise. Additionally, the council voted to ban the practice of running for city council and mayor concurrently, something former City Councilor Charles Yancey did in 2013. Some in city politics have come to call this practice “pulling a Yancey.”

The measure has to be signed by Mayor Marty Walsh before going to Beacon Hill for further action. Walsh has declined to take a position on the matter and its fate on Beacon Hill is unknown.

The move is a sign of the council’s increasing confidence. If approved, the measure would limit Walsh’s ability to influence council races behind the scenes or directly in non-mayoral election years. Since Walsh took office in 2014, the council has asserted itself in a way rarely seen during the later years of the Menino-era, most notably challenging the mayor on his Summer Olympic proposal and voting to give themselves a $12,000 raise in an election year.