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Two candidates announce election plans

(2/16) With the clock ticking away on the date the position of a fifth commissioner becomes official, some individuals have already indicated interest in running for what could be two open seats on the board.

In the upcoming April 25 town election, one seat will become vacant as Commissioner Arthur Elder's term expires. The candidate elected to fill this seat would serve until October 2009.

At the Jan. 18 town meeting, the board of commissioners voted to amend the town charter to create a seat for a fifth commissioner. The candidate chosen to fill that seat would serve a term of three years and five months.

If no one files a petition by Feb. 28 to challenge the fifth commissioner proposal and send it to the voters as a referendum, the charter change will go into effect March 10, in time for the next town election.

Two candidates indicate intentions

Potential incumbent Commissioner Elder, who has served on the board of commissioners since 2003, told The Dispatch Feb. 6, "I haven't made up my mind yet," about running for re-election.

Elder was defeated last year when, as a sitting commissioner, he challenged incumbent Mayor James E. Hoover. In addition, in April of last year, the town ethics commission determined that Elder had violated town ethics regulations. On Nov. 23, 2005, Elder filed a $5.4 million lawsuit against named town administrators and boards, including the board of commissioners. That lawsuit is still unresolved.

Former Commissioner Joyce Rosensteel, who served on the board from 2002 to 2005, when she was defeated for re-election, told The Dispatch Feb. 3 that she will definitely be running for board of commissioners.

Former Commissioner Clifford Sweeney, who served on the board from 2001 to 2004, confirmed Feb. 7 that he would run only if two seats were open on the board, not wanting to vie for a seat against Rosensteel.

Other unsuccessful candidates in last year's election were Harold C. Craig, Jr. and Catherine Forrence, who both ran for commissioner, and Stanley Mazaleski, who ran for the mayoral seat.

Forrence told The Dispatch that she did not know if she was going to run, while Mazaleski said, "I don't think I'm going to run, but I am thinking about running for county commissioner." The Dispatch was unable to reach Craig for comment before press deadline.

Financial disclosures required

Candidates must file for office by March 27 to be on the ballot, or until noon, April 18 to be considered a write-in. Each must also provide proof of residency and duration of residency.

Every candidate must file a financial disclosure statement both 30 days before and seven days after the election (covering the 30-day period of time from the first filing).

The deadline to register to vote in the April 25 election is April 7. Voters must register with the Frederick County Board of Elections.

Fifth commissioner could still be challenged

Because adding a fifth commissioner requires a change in the town charter, residents have 40 calendar days to challenge the decision by filing a referendum petition, forcing the issue to a public vote if enough signatures are gathered.

If no such petition is filed within that timeframe, the charter change will go into effect on the 50th calendar day from passage, in time for the seat to be open for the town's April election.

An attempt by Mayor James E. Hoover to veto the board of commissioners' decision to amend the town charter allowing for a fifth commissioner and removing the mayor's ability to vote as a member of the board was rescinded Jan. 26 when the town was advised that the veto of a charter change might violate state regulations.

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