May 31 2014

Charter Election Date Language Raises a Question

At the June 2 City Council meeting, the Council is expected to place on the November 2014 ballot a City Charter change to require Piedmont’s General Election to be concurrent with the State’s General Election in November of even number years and also to change School Board reorganization dates.

A question on the proposed Charter language has arisen.

The questionable language was added to facilitate the extension of terms, but possibly could have other implications. The language states:

“They shall hold office for four (4) years or until their successor is sworn into office.”

There is the possibility that an elected candidate, prior to being sworn into office, could not serve because of death, disqualification or withdrawal. The proposed language could extend the term of a termed-out Councilmember until a successor is chosen. If there is more than one termed-out Councilmember, which one would remain on the Council “until a successor is sworn into office?”  

The language “or until their successor is sworn into office” appears to presume there is a designated seat for each elected member of the Council. In Piedmont, individuals on the Council are elected at-large by all voters.  There are no designated seats to be filled “until their successor is sworn into office.”

Current office holders on the Council and School Board will have their terms extended from March to November of their term, an approximate 8 month extension.

The changes are being made to gain greater participation in Piedmont elections, remedy School Board reorganization dates, and reduce the cost of Piedmont elections.

Read the staff report and proposed language. 

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