May 25 2014

May 28: School Board to Weigh In on Election Date Change

– Extended terms of office or appointed positions? Date to choose Board officers? – 

The date for Piedmont’s election of the School Board and City Council is set by the Piedmont City Charter for the first Tuesday in February of even number years.  The City Council and School Board have been considering ways to increase voter participation and reduce costs associated with Piedmont elections. Changing the date of Piedmont elections requires changing the Charter by approval of a majority of the voters voting on the change.

In November 2012, Piedmont consolidated with the General Election for a City ballot measure. Great savings were achieved, as the cost per registered voter was $1.10. Piedmont’s current stand alone election in February 2014 cost $9.89 per registered voter.

Twelve of Alameda County’s thirteen cities hold their elections at the November General Election of even numbered year.  Piedmont is the only city with a stand alone election.

The Charter also prescribes when the reorganization of the Board’s officers occurs. The current date is out of step with the Board election by months creating a potentially awkward period for the Board.

A report to the Board prepared by Board President Rick Raushenbush and Superintendent Constance Hubbard states in part:

The City Council found that consolidating the City Charter election date for Council members and Board members with the State’s November general election date would provide the greatest cost savings and the most voter participation. Moving the election date to November would require existing Council and Board members to extend their terms to the new November election date rather than the current February election date.

If the Board supports the change of the election date, the Superintendent will work with the City Clerk to submit wording that will delineate reorganization requirements in keeping with Education Code requirements. It will also add flexibility if the Board does not need to have a meeting in July.

Term extensions for an additional period from March to December or appointments to vacancies are also mentioned in the report:

The alternative to extending the terms of current officials is that a Board Member could resign their position and the Board would go through the process outlined in Board Bylaws 9110 (4) which state, “A vacancy on the Board shall be filled by appointment by a majority vote of said Board, with the appointee holding office for the remainder of the unexpired term or until the general municipal election. If a vacancy in the Board continues for thirty days, the vacancy shall be filled by an appointment made by the President of the Board.”

If the appointed person serves more than eighteen months of an unexpired term, such person shall be considered to have served a full term.

Historically, appointments to vacant seats on elected boards or councils provide an advantage to the appointed incumbent at the upcoming election. “Self-perpetuating” is a term that has been used when elected bodies fill a vacancy with their personal choice immediately prior to an upcoming election.

At their Wednesday, May  28 meeting in the Council Chambers, the Board will be asked to give direction to the Superintendent on the following items or provide other alternatives:

(a) Change of date of election for School Board Members to November

(b) Extension of term of current members from March to November

(c) Request change in City Charter to change reorganization requirements for

Read the documents on the election date item pages 3-10 of the Board packet.

Full agenda of May 28 Board meeting.

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