Howard County Councilman Darrel E. Drown is proposing a charter amendment that would limit council members to three terms, and says if it does not pass he will launch a petition drive to get it on the ballot in 1992.
"A limitation on terms is just one of my deep philosophical holdings in politics, and it is a good way to get started," said Mr. Drown, R-2nd, a freshman lawmaker who worked as a budget officer for the school system before taking a job as a financial planner.
Mr. Drown said yesterday that he would introduce the charter amendment Feb. 5. Under his bill, the three-term limit would begin with the 1990 election.
Four of the five members must vote for the bill if the question is to be put to voters in November 1992. If the measure fails, Mr. Drown said he would begin a drive to gather the 10,000 signatures of registered voters required for a referendum.
Mr. Drown's charter initiative comes at a time when county Republicans are supporting various proposals to limit terms of office in the General Assembly and the U.S. Congress.
Delegate Robert H. Kittleman is drafting a bill that would limit state legislative terms to 12 years. The measure already has received the support of his fellow Republicans in the county delegation.
Mr. Kittleman's proposal would take effect in stages, beginning in 1994.
Legislators who have served 20 years or longer would be ineligible to run again for the same office in 1994. Incumbents with 16 years would be prohibited from running for re-election in 1998. The 12-year limit would become fully effective in 2002.
Delegate Kittleman is also pushing a resolution calling on Maryland's congressional delegation to introduce legislation that would limit members of Congress to three terms, his aide, Carol Arscott, said yesterday.
Mr. Drown said he was optimistic that he could obtain three other council members' votes to support his proposal.
"The three-term limitation guarantees new blood will come in every 12 years, and it encourages greater participation by more people," he said. "The original framers of the County Charter did not have professional politicians in mind to hold these seats."
County Executive Charles I. Ecker, a Republican, endorsed Mr. Drown's proposal. "I don't see it giving one political party any kind of political advantage," he said.
The charter already limits the executive to serving two four-year terms.