This year the Village election process has been complicated by the Village’s efforts to seek relief from the broad financial disclosure requirements of the new state Public Ethics Law. The State Ethics Commission on March 14 denied the Village’s request to narrow the required disclosures. Accordingly, the candidates for Board vacancies will be required to make disclosures in accordance with the new state Public Ethics Law on or before April 26, 2013, when the new Village Ethics Ordinance takes effect.
There are currently six vacancies for Board positions. These include the seats held by Ms. Patricia (Pat) Baptiste and Messrs. Gary Crockett, Richard Ruda and David Winstead, not all of whom have decided at this time whether they intend to seek re-election. These vacancies are for full 2-year terms. There are also two vacant Board positions for the final year of the terms of former Board members Peter Kilborn and Tom Jackson, who resigned last fall.
Any Village resident may run for a seat on the Board provided he/she is a registered qualified voter in the State of Maryland and has lived in Chevy Chase Village for thirty days prior to the election. Board candidates have until the Annual Meeting on April 15 to declare their candidacies. Candidates for election to the Village Board should officially submit their names to the Village Manager by no later than 10:00 a.m. on April 15. By that time, they will also have to file the financial disclosure statement required under the Village’s CURRENT Ethics Law. The current disclosure form is available in the Village office or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Village Elections Committee, after consulting with the Village Manager, will determine those Village residents who qualify as candidates for election at the Annual Meeting.
On or before April 26, 2013, candidate disclosures will have to be supplemented by the broader disclosures required under the Village’s NEW Ethics Ordinance, which complies with the new state Public Ethics Law. This new ordinance will become effective on that date.
If the number of candidates equals the number of available seats, the candidates will be elected by acclamation at the Annual Meeting on Monday, April 15. If the number of candidates exceeds the number of available seats, a contested election will be held on Saturday, May 4.
A meeting will be scheduled prior to the Annual Meeting to fully inform prospective candidates of the extent of the financial disclosures required of candidates for the Village Board. These disclosures will be available to the public under the new Public Ethics Law. This meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. on April 3.
Michael Denger, the remaining member of the Village Board who is not up for re-election, together with members of the Village’s Ethics Commission, will conduct the April 3 meeting to advise all prospective candidates of the precise disclosures that will be required of candidates for Board positions. A sample disclosure form under the new Ethics Ordinance that candidates must complete, will be available at the meeting on April 3. It will have been reviewed by Village Counsel. Anyone intending to be a candidate and make the required disclosure under the new Ordinance is requested to advise the Village Manager and the Elections Committee by April 10, 2013.
If there are less than six candidates to fill the outstanding Board positions on April 15, the Board will not have its full complement of seven members. In such a situation, the Board will also consider at the Annual Meeting whether to amend the Village Charter to reduce the Board size from seven (7) to five (5) and the required quorum from four (4) to three (3) to make it easier for the Village Board to operate and carry out the Village’s business. Most other Boards/Councils of municipalities have five members, and it is anticipated that if the Board has to resort to this approach, the Village Board will be able to carry on as it has in the past.
Questions involving the Board election should be directed to Elections Committee Chair Charlotte Jones-Carroll by email at email@example.com.