(8/27/03) - If
Mayor Jim Hoover
has his way, April town elections soon will be a thing of the
Mr. Hoover wants Emmitsburg's Election
Day switched to the first Monday in October. He'll ask the
town's board of commissioners to approve the move at its
meeting Monday night at 7:30 in the town office.
The impetus for the change is the town
budget. The mayor said that newly elected commissioners join
the budget process in the middle and must be educated about
what's been covered and what's happened in the town in recent
years. It's even worse if there's a mayoral change, he said,
because it's the mayor's duty to present a budget report.
Mr. Hoover said he didn't want to hold
elections in the summer, when voter turnout might be affected
by vacations. The October date gives a newly elected official
time to adjust to the office and participate in budget
planning from the beginning.
Commissioners and the mayor serve
three-year terms. As written now, the resolutions to change
the town charter would give each sitting commissioner and the
mayor five extra months in office.
However, while discussing ways to make
the change, the mayor realized another option. All town
positions in three consecutive elections could be for terms of
roughly three years and five months, carrying each seat to an
October election date. Thereafter, elections will be held each
October for three-year terms.
He said he'll push to have the
resolution amended to reflect that change.
"I think that would be the better
option and the fairer option," he said. "I think that's the
Another option would be to shorten
each term by about seven months. However, that eventually
would require two elections in one year, a situation Mr.
Hoover wants to avoid.
If the board wants to pass the
resolution as written, there apparently will be opposition to
a change extending the terms of sitting officials.
Harold Craig, a member of the
grassroots political organization Citizens Organized to
Preserve Emmitsburg, is against the changes proposed in the
current resolutions. He said the elected officials should not
be able to extend their terms themselves.
"I consider it an outrage," he said.
"They're grabbing for power for five months.
"If they want to do anything, they
should cut themselves short."
When told that the mayor intended to
have the resolutions amended so that voters would decide who
serves the extended terms, Mr. Craig said, "That's not so
The mayor said he's been pushing to
move the election date for about four years, since his days as
a commissioner. He said this is the first time the rest of the
board seems willing to consider the change.
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