BY REBECCA BENNETT — Updated July 27 at 3:10 p.m. The City of Hyattsville is holding a special election on Saturday, Sept. 12 to fill a vacant seat left by former Councilmember Clay Williams (Ward 5) in late June. According to the city charter, a special election must be held within 75 days of the vacancy. Ward 5 residents can vote at Magruder Park from 9 a .m. to 8 p.m. on Sept. 12.
Hyattsville City Clerk Laura Reams said five people have registered to run for the vacant seat: Ruth Ann Frazier, Antoinette C. Grace Mbarga, Rommel A. Sandino, Patricia A. Stamper and Eric Roger Tagne.
Ward 5 includes the area around the West Hyattsville Metro Station, west of 38th Avenue and in streets near the intersection of Hamilton Street and Queens Chapel Road. Click here to find out your ward.
“Change is coming to Ward 5,” Councilmember Joseph Solomon (Ward 5), who recently won re-election in May 2015 after being elected in 2013 to fill a vacant seat, said. “In addition to new levels of civic engagement from residents, there is extraordinary interest in West Hyattsville metro development as expressed by WMATA and the property directly adjacent, we are implementing the findings of the West Hyattsville Lighting Study, and we are preparing for the [Hyattsville City] Police Department move to 3505 Hamilton Street. Any resident interested in being a voice for the community in ensuring these changes reflect the needs and concerns of residents should, must, consider running.”
Earlier this year, the Compensation Review Committee proposed “aggressive” wage increases for Hyattsville City Council members, which the council passed while mixed in support, because it could not alter the recommendation of the committee.
“I’m not going to apologize for saying that I think our city councilmembers should be paid more money,” Warner said at the Feb. 19 council meeting. “I see this play out when trying to encourage people to run for council. I see it play out in who runs for council. … I want to make the council more representative, I want to make it fair, and I want to say that we value the work that goes into this.”
“When you are able to frame the conversation in a way that says What if it paid half of your mortgage, would you consider reshuffling things? The answer is usually yes,” review committee member Meg Libby-Mueller said. “And, it’s not because they want more money. It helps them balance the service in their life in a way that’s meaningful.”
“Residents are highly engaged and truly desire to build stronger community bonds and reshape the narrative on West Hyattsville,” Solomon said. “Ward 5 continues to transition and I look for a partner in developing community oriented programming that reflects the cultural diversity, historic value, and willingness to embrace the future that is ever so present in West Hyattsville.”
Candidate registration opened July 13. All interested residents must return all forms by 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 7.
The deadline to register to vote or submit an address change is Aug. 21.
According to a city memo, the cost of the contract for election equipment and technical assistance is not to exceed $3,825.
The winner of the Ward 5 special election will be sworn into office at the Sept. 21 Hyattsville City Council meeting.