Most Baltimore City Council members haven’t taken a position on an upcoming ballot question that would limit city elected officials to two terms. But some council members are preparing for its possible passage.

The council’s Education Workforce and Youth committee gave a preliminary stamp of approval Thursday to a bill that would reduce the time required to qualify for a city pension from 12 years to eight years, a move that one pension official called highly unusual.

Voters will determine the fate of Question K, a charter amendment that would limit the mayor, city council president, comptroller and council members to two, four-year terms in office, in next week’s election.

It is the only charter amendment on the ballot that was not created by city officials. David Smith, a top Sinclair Broadcast Group executive spent more than $500,000 funding a political action committee that canvassed more than 10,000 signatures to place the measure before voters.

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The term limit count would not begin until 2024, when the term count would start at one for all elected officials, including those who served previous terms. It would not bar officials from moving from one elected office to another after serving two terms in the first office.

The bill discussed Thursday would only go into effect if Question K passes; it would make elected officials in office on Dec. 1 of this year pension-eligible after eight years.

Committee chair Robert Stokes noted that the measure’s proponents claim it will lead to an influx of young people pursuing elected office.

“But how do we get young people that we want to be involved to run for office when they have to say, ‘Okay, I do two terms — eight years — in elected official position and I don’t have a retirement plan?’” he asked. “We didn’t ask for this.”

The bill passed out of committee and is set to head for second reader at next Monday’s council meeting.

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“While it may not be unconstitutional, it is highly unusual for elected officials to enhance their benefits while in term,” said David Randall, the executive director of the City of Baltimore Employees and Elected Officials Retirements Systems, known as ERS.

ERS opposes the legislation as its board was not provided enough time to conduct a study of possible long-term effects of the bill, Randall said at the hearing.

Though the pension is currently more than 100% fully funded, reducing the years of service required to qualify for it may mean that the city’s general fund would need to increase its contributions to the system, said assistant finance director Bob Cenname: “Just reducing from 12 to eight can have a significant impact on a small system like this.”

The finance department also opposed the bill, citing a lack of time to research its potential impact. If the measure passes, the finance department would want to make sure there is a reasonable benefit for elected officials, Cenname said.

“We just think there’s a way to meet the intent of the bill and also protect the city if we have a little bit more time to review this and really, really analyze it,” he said.