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4-year mayoral term may be on MV ballot
August 16, 2013 · Jennifer Pandich

Voters may be able to decide whether or not the mayoral term in Mount Vernon should be four years, but it is unclear yet when that change might happen.

The Mount Vernon City Council has been discussing adding two years to the mayoral term, in part to create more balance in the number of possible new elected officials.

Currently, the mayor is up for election every two years. Each council term is four years, with two being up for election one year and three seats up for the next election cycle.

This past election, three new council members were sworn in, as well as a new mayor. This meant four of six elected positions were filled by new members. This prompted discussion that having fewer possible new members might be better for the city.

The question as to whether or not the term should change would be put on this November's ballot if a petition with enough signatures is submitted in time. According to council member Slaton Anthony, the council member who will be heading up the petition drive, the number of signatures required is 10 percent of the number of voters in the last election.

If, however, the next election in 2015 were to be the first creating a longer term, then the number of seats up for election would be permanently skewed with four in one election and two in the next.

It is likely that the petition will read that the change in term would not be applied until the 2017 election, with the mayoral term remaining two years until then. A decision on the wording may come at the next council meeting this coming Monday.

In other action last week, the council:

• Learned that the Community Development Group's annual volunteer recognition event will be Sept. 12 in Memorial Park.

• Heard from mayor Scott Peterson that Francesca Thompson will be sworn in as a new council member this coming Monday. Thompson won a special election to fill a vacancy left by Steve Maurice.

• Learned that at this coming Monday meeting Peterson will have a recommendation of those he would like to serve on a committee to work on updating the comprehensive plan.

• Moved the first council meeting in September, which would fall on Labor Day, to Wednesday, Sept. 4, at 6:30 p.m.

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