Should Havre de Grace consider altering its election process?
It's a healthy discussion, and one that came up repeatedly during this year's election season.
The election schedule—two-year terms held on a rotating, annual basis—was questioned.
So too was the at-large positions for council and mayor.
Should there be voting districts?
"There's pros and cons to that," recently-elected Councilman Joseph Smith told Patch in an interview about a month before the election. "Where do you draw them? And people say one reason to do that is so that no one community gets control. It also guarantees that different sides of the community get represented. There are pros and cons there."
I want to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below.
I compiled the residences of the past 10 candidates elected to office in Havre de Grace—including the two newcomers from last week's election, and those outgoing officials from both this year's election and last spring's election.
While this sample size offers only a small window into the candidates that run for office—it represents all of those elected in the Havre de Grace Patch era, dating back to October 2010—it does offer some insight into the widespread representation that the current council offers.
Some residents recommended full district-driven elections, while others recommended two, three or four districts with the other seats up for an at-large election.
As it currently stands, the city elects its officials every two years, with three council members up for election every year, and the mayor's seat up for election on the odd-numbered years.
"I'm not a fan of two year terms. I think two-year terms are detrimental to getting things done," Cullum said. "The first year, a new person is learning, the second year, they're running for re-election."
Aberdeen recently changed from two-year to four-year terms for its elected officials. Four council members ran un-opposed in Aberdeen in November 2011, while two candidates squared off for the mayor's seat.
Cullum said a movement to push for four-year terms would have to go to referendum and be placed on the ballot for the public to vote.
In an interview about two weeks prior to the election, Mayor Wayne Dougherty said he feels Havre de Grace does elections the right way.
"I think here in the city we have the best election system going," Dougherty said. "A lot of people use the excuse that we need four year terms because we may just be getting things going. ... Our election system that we have in Havre de Grace, in two years anyone can clearly demonstrate what they're working on, what they've accomplished and what's the eventual outcome. If you can give that to the citizens, they understand. They'll give you another shot."
TELL US: Are you happy with the way Havre de Grace runs its elections? What would you change, if anything? Leave a comment.