Avon voters will most likely see a charter amendment on the Nov. 7 election that if approved, would stagger the election of . Currently, all seven seats are up for election at the same time. Council members are elected to two-year terms, which would change to four years.
Should the measure pass, the four ward seats will be voted on the same year as the mayor with the at-large seats going to vote two years after, and then four years into perpetuity.
An approved charter change means in 2013, all seven council seats will be up for election for terms starting in January 2014. The four council seats will be for four-year terms, but the three at-large seats would be elected for a two-year term.
In 2015, those three seats would then be up for election for four-year terms from that point forward. (Confused? See timeline below.)
The result would be staggered council elections every two years.
The issue was discussed at the April 19 and May 3 Charter Review Commission meetings, chaired by Paul Miklovich.
At the April 19 meeting, the issue was discussed at length, minutes show.
Former councilman Dennis McBride, a guest at the meeting told the committee in his experience it took awhile to become accustomed to being on Council and two years was not enough to become acclimated, and council members then find themselves up for re-election.
Law Director John Gasior said staggering was “a big plus.”
Avon had one situation where the entire City Council was voted out of office, but Gasior asked, “How many times do you want to take that chance?”
At the same meeting, Mayor Jim Smith said another advantage to staggering was it would allow council-at-large members, which represent the entire town, the opportunity to run for mayor and not have their seat threatened if they lost the mayoral election.
The next mayoral election is in 2013.
McBride added that not having staggered terms meant four continuous years with no campaigning.
utilizes a staggered system with the four council members running the same time as the mayor and the at-large members running two years after that.
Gasior supported the idea, but said it has not been an easy sell in the past.
“We’ve been trying to do this for a long time,” he said. “Voters have voted it down in the past.”
Gasior presented an ordinance with the recommended change to Charter Review Commission members at the May 3 meeting and to council at the June 18 meeting.
If the Charter amendment passes in 2012:
Clerk of Council Ellen Young provided the timeline if the charter amendment passes:
2013 – Mayor and Ward Council members run for four year terms and At-Large Council members run for a two year term with all elected officials taking office in 2014.
2015 – At-Large Council members run for a four-year term, taking office in 2016
2017 – Mayor and Ward Council members run for four year terms, from January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2021
2019 – At-Large Council members run for four year terms, from January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2023
2021 – Mayor and Ward Council members run for four year terms, from January 1, 2022 through December 31, 2025
2023 – At-Large Council members run for four year terms, from January 1, 2024 through December 31, 2027
2025 – Mayor and Ward Council member run for four year terms, from January 1, 2026 through December 31, 2029