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Election Date Not to Change

Vic Bradshaw
Frederick News Post

(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 light.

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 preparation.

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.

Read other news stories related to the Emmitsburg Town Government