Haverhill city councilors voted this week to formally ask legislators to ban politicians from running and serving in two offices at the same time.
All councilors present Tuesday approved sending the state legislature a home rule petition that would ratify voters overwhelming approval of two ballot questions. Mayor James J. Fiorentini and Mayor-elect Melinda E. Barrett led the call to seek the amendment to the city’s new mostly ward-based elections law. Fiorentini explained.
“I personally didn’t have a promise with people running for more than one office, but the people have spoken. We work for the public. They’ve spoken loudly and clearly that they think people should be able to run for only one office at the same time and serve in one office at a time. I’m submitting this home-rule petition to send the view of the public—the residents—off to the legislature and see if they’ll put it into law,” the mayor said.
In a non-binding referendum, residents voted last week 8,310-1,343 in favor of preventing a candidate from holding the office of mayor, city councilor or School Committee while simultaneously holding any other elected or appointed office of the city or another position with the city for which they are paid out of the city treasury. In a separate question, residents went even further, voting 8,580-1,172 against even running for two or more offices in the same election cycle.
The question was advanced by Councilors Thomas J. Sullivan and Shaun P. Toohey and approved 7-0 with two members absent.
This year was the first time, at least in current memory, that three different candidates for public office considered running for—if not holding—two elected jobs at once.