(8/6/2003) A proposed election-date
switch for the town didn't come to a vote Monday
night. The hoard of commissioners tabled an ordinance and two
resolutions that would have changed Emmitsburg's election date
from late April to early October. The matter may be little
more than a delay, however, as opposition to the change was
The switch is proposed by Mayor Jim
Hoover. He believes the change would benefit the town because
a new mayor or commissioner wouldn't take office less than two
months before voting on an annual budget. When new officials
take their seats, the board is midway through its budget
To make that change, Mr. Hoover's
proposal had the board members extending their current
three-year terms by about five months, starting the October
elections in 2004. However, he told the commissioners he now
favors holding the next three elections in May and making
those terms last an extra five months, meaning October
elections would begin in 2007.
Pat Boyle, the board's president,
initially said he had no problem with extending the current
terms. Public comment, however, may have swayed him.
Harold Craig and Bill O'Neil both said
they opposed the commissioners extending their own terms.
"Only the voters have the right to extend your term of
office," Mr. O'Neil said.
The timing of the proposed election
date also was opposed.
Mr. O'Neil said an early October
election gives voters only about a month to learn about
candidates after the summer vacation season. He questioned
whether that was enough time for meaningful debate between
candidates so the electorate could make an educated decision.
Town Manager David Haller is to
rewrite the three measures and bring them back to the board in
September. The changes involve extending the terms of the next
person elected to each seat and moving the proposed election
date a bit later in the year.
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