Pro­posed Per­ryville elec­tion cy­cle changes squashed

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By JANE BELLMYER

jbellmyer@ce­cil­whig.com

— A pro­posal to change the way the mayor and com­mis­sion­ers get elected died at the town work ses­sion Tues­day night.

Com­mis­sioner Robert Ashby pro­posed to al­low for com­mis­sion­ers to seek the mayor’s seat with­out hav­ing to sur­ren­der their in­cum­bency. Elected for two-year terms, the mayor and two com­mis­sion­ers are on one bal­lot and the re­main­ing two com­mis­sion­ers ap­pear on the bal­lot the fol­low­ing year. Ashby said it is un­fair for the two com­mis­sion­ers that share the may­oral bal­lot to risk los­ing their seat to seek the higher town of­fice.

“The way it’s set up now, if I want to run for mayor, I have to lose my seat,” Ashby said. “The idea was to to have the mayor and com­mis­sion­ers on sep­a­rate terms.”

The pro­posal was to en­act three­year terms with the mayor alone on one bal­lot and two com­mis­sion­ers

PER­RYVILLE

each on the other bal­lot years.

Com­mis­sioner Michelle Linkey said she fa­vored both changes.

Mayor Jim Eber­hardt — who was not a part of pre­vi­ous work ses­sion dis­cus­sions — made it clear that he wanted the elec­tion cy­cle left alone.

“I am to­tally op­posed to this,” he said. “This is the most self-serv­ing doc­u­ment I’ve had in front of me.”

Eber­hardt said he sees no ben­e­fit for the town in the pro­posal.

Linkey dis­agreed with the self­serv­ing la­bel.

“Com­mis­sioner Ashby brought up some good points,” she added. “Two com­mis­sion­ers would have to re­sign to run for mayor.”

“I do not have to for­feit,” she noted. “It’s not an equal op­por­tu­nity.”

Com­mis­sioner Alan Fox said he thought about the pro­posal and while the cur­rent board is ami­able, he said that has not al­ways be the case.

“We’re as­sum­ing we’re all get­ting along pretty well,” he said.

Com­mis­sioner Ray Ryan III said he is used to the two-year cy­cle of town elec­tions.

“Some peo­ple serve two years and want a break,” he said, adding he finds the three-year cy­cle in­ter­est­ing.

“As far as con­ti­nu­ity, we’re not turn­ing peo­ple over,” Ryan said, not­ing the length of terms for Eber­hardt, Linkey and Fox and the term of for­mer com­mis­sioner Bar­bara Brown. Linkey and Fox ran un­op­posed in the 2015 town elec­tion. Eber­hardt has run un­op­posed al­most ev­ery time since his first elec­tion in 2010.

Denise Breder, town ad­min­is­tra­tor, spoke on be­half of the town em­ploy­ees say­ing the con­ti­nu­ity of the elected board is a pos­i­tive for the paid staff.

“It’s nice to have that sta­bil­ity,” she said.

Ashby hinted his fu­ture plans may re­main.

“If in two years I want to run for mayor and if I haven’t done my job as a com­mis­sioner, the vot­ers will speak,” he added.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JANE BELLMYER

Com­mis­sioner Michelle Linkey said she was in fa­vor of chang­ing the length of terms for the elected board and also mak­ing the may­oral race a sep­a­rate elec­tion.

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