More than half of city council seats to be on May ballot
BY SUSIE CURRIE — The resignation of a mid-term city councilmember means that both Ward 5 seats will be open in the city’s May election, a rarity that brings the total seats in play to six.
Nicole Hinds Mofor, first elected to represent Ward 5 in 2005, resigned abruptly at the end of January. Mayor Marc Tartaro announced her resignation at the February 4 city council meeting, reading a proclamation in her honor but giving no reason for the departure.
Each of Hyattsville’s five wards is represented by two councilmembers, who, like the mayor, are elected to four-year terms. The elections are staggered every two years, so that half of the council is up for re-election each time (and the mayor, every other time). They are held on the second Tuesday in May, which this year is May 7.
Ruth Ann Frazier, the senior Ward 5 representative, and Carlos Lizanne (Ward 4) had already said that they would be retiring. Council President Matthew McKnight (Ward 3), too, has said that this will be his last term.
Frazier, McKnight and Lizanne would have been up for re-election this spring – along with Eric Wingard (Ward 1) and David Hiles (Ward 2), who have indicated that they plan to run.
But Mofor was re-elected in 2011 to a four-year term. Because she resigned within the time allotted by law, voters will choose her successor in the regular city election instead of a special one.
Candidate registration runs from February 25 to March 29. The already thick Candidate Packet, given to all prospective councilmembers, has a new section this year: a 17-page financial disclosure statement drafted by City Attorney Richard Colaresi. Colaresi said the form is similar to the one that has been used in state elections for years.
Recently, he said, the state expanded that application requirement to include candidates in county and municipal elections. Current councilmembers, too, must file a financial disclosure statement.
The packet includes additional application material, as well as a range of information relating to the election and the job itself.
Beginning in May, councilmembers’ salaries will be $5,000 a year, with the mayor earning $7,600. Next May, both amounts will increase by $200.
Voters must register by April 5 to participate in the city election. City Clerk Laura Reams said that postcards will go out to the 1,644 city residents whose wards changed in last year’s redistricting, letting them know their new polling places.
For more information, see this issue’s Hyattsville Reporter on pages HR 1 and 2. Or visit the city website’s election page. To find out more about being an election judge, or contact Reams at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301.985.5009.