The Charter Commission has decided to put their charter proposal on the ballot in a special election to be held May 30 instead of waiting for the regularly scheduled November election. The county Board of Elections is in charge of running regularly scheduled elections but it will be the Accounts Department that will be in charge of conducting this special election so I emailed Commissioner of Accounts John Franck to ask him if he would talk with me. He was kind enough to call me back.
Commissioner Franck pointed out the city has never held a special election so there are many unknowns. The Charter Commission is requesting $37,000 to cover the expense of the election. This amount will be necessary to cover the basics that are routinely paid for by the county when they run regularly scheduled elections. These expenses include such things as paying inspectors, printing ballots, legal advertising, and printing copies of the proposition for polling places. It does not cover any expenses incurred by the Accounts Department to do the job the county usually performs. Commissioner Franck estimated it could cost another $5,000 to $10,000 in overtime for his staff.
Adding to the challenge is that May is an especially busy month for his office. This is the month when they must finish assessments and hold the annually scheduled grievance day so adding the carrying out of a special election to the department’s workload will be a challenge.
In addition Commissioner Franck was skeptical about the need to have a May 30 special election particularly given his expectation that there will be a lower turnout than there would be for a regular election.
Nevertheless the Commissioner was positive and constructive in discussing the responsibilities that his department will take on. If it has to be done it will be done properly.