At the Oct. 4 Rancho Santa Fe Association meeting, the board had a discussion on the subject of term limits. Director Mike Gallagher requested that the item be placed on an agenda as it is a governance issue to be visited from time to time.
“When I ran for this position I got a lot of feedback from the community that they like the idea of term limits,” said Gallagher, who was appointed to the board in 2017 and elected in 2018.
Currently the board of directors serves three-year terms and it is rare that directors seek a second term. In the last 10 years, only two board members have sought a second term—Fred Wasserman ran in 2018 and was not re-elected; Ann Boon was re-elected in 2014 but she resigned with one year left in her second term.
Gallagher said he has found some of the benefits of term limits is that they prevent one person from dominating a board for an extended period of time and that they enforce turnover, bringing fresh ideas and energy the board. The disadvantages of term limits, he said, come when no one is interested in running or if someone who is experienced and knowledgable is termed out from seeking re-election.
Director Steve Dunn said he is favor of term limits as it encourages more community members to get involved. He said he has seen the positive impact of turnover on Association committees, the RSF Golf Club and Tennis Club boards with new members volunteering to help benefit the community.
RSF Association President Ken Markstein and Director Rick Sapp noted in a small community like Rancho Santa Fe, the ballot box has a lot of power—the active community membership is able to make informed decisions on who is elected for second terms.
The majority of the board did not see a need for term limits at this time, although all agreed that they would love to see more community involvement, people stepping up to run for the board and serve on committees.