Haverhill Councilors Back Ballot Questions That Could Limit Candidates Holding Several Jobs

A Ward 6 polling location. (WHAV News photograph.)

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The full City Council, as expected, ratified two non-binding ballot questions asking voters to weigh in on whether a candidate should be allowed to run for, or hold, two elected offices at the same time.

As WHAV reported first late last month, a subcommittee recommended placing the questions before voters. Those sprung from a proposal by Council President Timothy J. Jordan, Council Vice President John A. Michitson and Councilor Melissa J. Lewandowski to ask voters opinions about a charter change to prohibit someone from running for more than on elected position in the same election cycle.

Haverhill City Clerk Kaitlin M. Wright read the two questions at Tuesday’s meeting.

“Shall the following home rule petition providing that no person shall hold the office of mayor, city councilor or School Committee member while simultaneously holding any other elected or appointed office of the city, or holding a position with the city for which the salary or compensation is payable out of the city treasury be adopted and forwarded to the General Court for enactment?”

The second question goes a bit further, asking voters if a person should be able to run for two or more offices in the same election cycle. “Shall the following home rule petition providing for limitations as to the number of offices a person may be a candidate for at any preliminary election be adopted and forwarded to the General Court for enactment.”

At last month’s subcommittee meeting, City Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan clarified the ballot questions do not apply to those seeking several elected positions this cycle. “I don’t want these to be seen as punitive, that we’re doing this just because of people who are running now. I don’t want that scenario,” he explained.

Both proposed questions passed by a 7-0 vote with Councilors Michael S. McGonagle and Melissa J. Lewandowski absent.

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