Hey, there! Log in / Register

Councilors gear up for contentious hearing on possibility city might need several mayoral elections this year

The Boston City Council's committee on government operations tomorrow considers a proposal to try to cancel a special election for mayor should Marty Walsh resign his post to move to Washington before March 5.

Currently, the city charter requires that should Walsh leave Boston before that date, the city would have to hold a special election to replace him - just a few months before the regular fall elections to pick a mayor. The city might also need a special preliminary to narrow the field for the special election.

City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo (Hyde Park, Mattapan, Roslindale) has filed a proposal to seek the required legislative approval to waive a special election - and the likely preliminary election that would proceed it - this year because of Covid-19 risks and the costs of potentially having a total of four elections for mayor this year. Four elections would also benefit certain highly motivated groups, supporters such as at-large Councilor Julia Mejia say.

Some councilors say too bad, the law's the law and let the elections happen, such as Frank Baker (Dorchester). Matt O'Malley (Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury), also opposes trying to bypass the charter provision this year, but with the caveat that he would seek to make any elections as safe as possible in a pandemic - he was one of the first officials last year to call for voting by mail.

Councilor Lydia Edwards (East Boston, Charlestown, North End), who chairs the committee, threw out a new complication last week, sending her colleagues a memo suggesting that councilors who might run for mayor - Michelle Wu and Andrea Campbell are running, while Council President Kim Janey would become acting mayor on Walsh's resignation - would face a conflict of interest on the issue and so can't vote. Edwards, who is also a lawyer, says she's not taking a position on the issue, just letting other councilors know what a city attorney concluded.

Arroyo, also a lawyer, however, retorted this weekend that, no, the state Ethics Commission actually says the state conflict-of-interest law does not apply to home-rule petitions to the state legislature, in this case, to bypass the special-election requirement.

The committee hearing begins at 3 p.m. People who want to testify need to request access in advance.

Neighborhoods: 
Topics: 

Ad:
Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!

Comments

Is there some significance to that date? Is it based on time until the next election? Something to do with the Boston Massacre?

up
Voting closed 7

The charter mandates that if a sitting mayor leaves office X days before the next election for the post, then the city has to have a special election to fill the position between then and the regular election.

I forget the exact number of weeks/days that is, but this year, it works out to be March 5: If Walsh leaves before then, we need a special election (and possibly a special preliminary to narrow the field for the special election). If he resigns after that, then no special election is needed - Kim Janey would serve until Jan. 1, when the new mayor is sworn in (which, who knows, could be her, that's how Tom Menino got into office).

up
Voting closed 24

n/t

up
Voting closed 4

When councilors received copies of the review, Arroyo fired off a query to the state Ethics Commission, which that same day determined there would be no conflict of interest in councilors intending to run for mayor or an acting mayor voting to eliminate the special election.

This is rich. Arroyo, who claims holding more elections contributes to disenfranchisement, is going out of his way to disenfranchise councilors from an important vote.

My bad, got it backwards.

up
Voting closed 8

Arroyo is saying that the ethics-commission statement means councilors should NOT be disenfranchised from any votes on the issue if they're running for mayor.

up
Voting closed 14

Is the phrase “benefit certain highly motivated groups” code for something?

up
Voting closed 9

Seems like it would be easier to ask Marty to please not stop being mayor until March 6. Given how slowly Congress moves and how his post is not one of the ones that urgently needs to be filled ASAP, this may end up being a moot point anyway.

up
Voting closed 18

It would be amusing if the selection of the next Mayor for Life is decided by how much time the Senate spends on the Trump impeachment trial.

up
Voting closed 10

To ensure receipt of double pension payment for perpetuity...

up
Voting closed 5

(Whom I recall having voted for)

Four elections would also benefit certain highly motivated groups, supporters such as at-large Councilor Julia Mejia say.

Care to elaborate?

up
Voting closed 11

She's pointed out that Black and Brown voter turnout is lower in special elections. Of course, turn out is so remarkably low for all Boston mayoral elections that it's anyone's identity politics race to win...

up
Voting closed 5

Don't forget her response to BPS shutting down was to create private grant for her kids to learn in a group pod while the rest of us had to fend ourselves.

https://boston.cbslocal.com/2020/08/06/boston-schools-reopening-learning...

In it for herself from day 1.

up
Voting closed 9

Julia Mejia is in this for herself. That's the funniest shit I've read here lately.

You must be confusing her with Matt O'Malley. Or Mike Ross.

up
Voting closed 11

who it would benefit, chuckles.

up
Voting closed 8

Mejia was elected in a low-turnout election. That said, I think it makes sense to just have the regular elections and skip the special.

Elaine Chao, Bush 43's choice for the job, was confirmed very quickly, on January 29. No doubt being married to Mitch McConnell helped. Obama's pick, Hilda Solis, was approved on February 24. So with the impeachment trial and 50/50 Senate, Marty may be around past March 5.

up
Voting closed 8

So all of this is moot if Marty just hangs in for six more weeks.

How likely is it that he would even be confirmed by then?

Seems like a tempest in a teapot and an opportunity for those who deny the COVID pandemic and want to draw resources away from vaccination efforts to scream random nonsense about disenfranchisement and other buzzywords not in evidence.

up
Voting closed 12

Funny how so many nations can somehow manage to have floating election dates without having any issues but MA is so hidebound that having an early election to election a mayor to a super-term (say six months longer than usual) is simply inconceivable.

up
Voting closed 14

Anything but 2 elections-at least one with a primary when we just went to the polls twice in 2020.

And we need to be focused on vaccinations

up
Voting closed 8

For the love of God, skip this! We legally can. Let's just get to the Fall.

No one in Boston wants to vote in a preliminary in May and the general election in June. (Special Election)

Then a preliminary in September then a general election in November. (General Election)

We just voted in the primaries, then the general election.

up
Voting closed 9

The best way to fix that is ranked-choice voting for local elections. Then the city wouldn't need preliminaries.

up
Voting closed 13

a bit of payback to certain councilors related to a former councilor and his exit from public service and those councilors attention to such?

up
Voting closed 6