A Baltimore City councilman will introduce a charter amendment to repeal Question K, a ballot measure passed overwhelmingly in November that limits City Hall officials to two terms in office.

Should 3rd District Councilman Ryan Dorsey’s charter amendment receive approval from the council and mayor, the earliest it would appear on city ballots is 2024, giving supporters and detractors alike nearly two years to debate the merits of term limits. The Democrat said the issue is “a serious topic that deserves serious discussion that it didn’t get when Sinclair was buying its way onto the ballot.”

Question K headed to voters after a PAC funded largely by David Smith, the executive chairman of Sinclair Broadcast Group, canvassed more than 10,000 signatures from city voters to put the measure on the ballot. Smith put more than $800,000 toward the PAC, which also unsuccessfully attempted to collect enough signatures to put a measure to recall elected officials on the ballot.

Jovani Patterson, chairman of the PAC, said Dorsey’s action is an attempt to “maintain the self-serving system of greed for lifelong politicians that has existed far too long” in Baltimore.

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He noted that 71% of city voters supported Question K in November. “Those numbers speak loud and clear despite the self-serving efforts of Councilman Dorsey to reverse them,” he said.

“As with all matters of referendum, nobody can overturn the will of the voters except for the voters themselves,” said Dorsey, who represents Northeast Baltimore neighborhoods including Belair-Edison, Hamilton and Lauraville. “This is about asking for reconsideration and nothing more.”

Smith’s company owns and operates WBFF, known as Fox45. The station and network are known for conservative leanings; Fox45 has aired highly critical coverage of city leaders, including Mayor Brandon Scott and City Council President Nick Mosby.

At a virtual luncheon ahead of Monday evening’s meeting, Mosby said he does not want the council to set a precedent of introducing legislation to repeal measures passed overwhelmingly by voters.

“Clearly that’s not the motivation of the sponsor, nor that would that be the motivation of anybody that’s in support of this, but it does create a slippery slope and set precedents that I think should be concerning to us all,” he said.

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Term limits are not set to go into effect until 2024, when term counts would start at one for all City Hall elected officials, including those who served previous terms. It would not prevent politicians from moving from one elected City Hall office to another after serving two terms in the first office. The earliest an official could be forced to leave office is 2032.

Dorsey argued that the council has two years left in their term to “have a robust dialogue that is slow, not fast” over his proposal.

Councilwoman Odette Ramos said she views the charter amendment as a reset.

“If voters still want it, here can be more of a dialogue, but just having an executive that wants to interfere in elections nationwide pay for this [Question K] to pass is unacceptable,” she said.

Question K has continued to make waves after Election Day. Council President Mosby introduced a bill to reduce the amount of time served for council members to qualify for a pension from eight years to 12 years, saying retirement benefits would encourage fresh faces to run for council seats. He noted the Smith-affiliated PAC made the same argument in advocating for term limits.

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The bill narrowly passed out of the council but Mayor Scott vetoed it last week, after the city ethics board sent him a letter expressing concerns that the bill would erode the public’s trust in City Hall and may violate ethics laws.