Fifteen public positions remain without candidates as filing deadline approaches
Just six residents have filed paperwork with the Borough clerk to run as candidates in the October municipal election. There are 21 vacancies on seven local boards and commissions up for election, including two 3-year terms on the Petersburg Borough Assembly.
The Planning and Zoning Commission has garnered three candidates—Tom Stearns, Mike Bangs, and Otis Marsh—each of whom holds a current seat on the commission. When vacancies were first posted, there were five open seats for the commission, but in the interim commissioner James Demko tendered his resignation, effective immediately, putting the number of available seats at six.
Gina Meucci has filed to run for a seat on the Public Safety Advisory Board, which is seeking candidates to fill two open positions. The Public Library board has two open positions as well, and incumbent Chelsea Tremblay has filed to run again for her seat on the board. Incumbent Jim Stromdahl has submitted paperwork to serve another term on the Harbor Board, which has two positions up for election this fall.
In a phone interview, current Assembly member Nancy Strand, whose term is expiring this year, said she does intend to run to keep her seat and is gathering the required signatures to submit with her candidacy paperwork. Strand said recent budget cuts have led to tough decisions for the Assembly, which she anticipates will continue into the coming years.
Those budget cuts are the same reason current Assembly member John Havrilek, whose term is also expiring, will not be running again.
“I don’t feel I’m representing the community,” Havrilek said via email. “I feel I’m too fiscally conservative and we need someone more in touch to serve.”
So far no one has declare candidacy to run for the three open seats on the School Board or the four open seats on the Hospital Board.
Candidates must be registered voters and have at least one year of established residency (except for the School Board which only requires 30 days of residency). Candidates for the Assembly, School Board and Planning Commission are also required to file a financial disclosure statement in accordance with a state statute.
Today the Borough Assembly will vote on whether to send an exemption to the state requirement to the local ballot this fall. An exemption would make the candidate filing process simpler, and some Assembly members say it would encourage more people to run for public office.
The deadline to file for candidacy is this coming Tuesday, August 25 at 5 p.m. Questions about filing can be directed to Borough Clerk Debbie Thompson. The deadline to register to vote in the October 6 Municipal Election is Monday, September 7.