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Council passes charter amendments

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Centreville Town Council May 14

Centreville Town Councilmen Tim McCluskey and Jeff Morgan vote May 14 to adopt charter changes implementing changes to create a council of five.

CENTREVILLE — The Centreville Town Council approved seven charter amendments intended to address the expansion of the council from three to five members. The vote was unanimous, 2-0, with Councilman Josh Shonts absent.

The record had been left open since the hearing April 16, but no further public comments were received. During the hearing, the Council heard from resident Dan Worth, who did not feel a time period needed to be added to when the candidate registered to vote.

Resolution 01-2020 adds language to Section 201 concerning the number of council members and their terms, stating that during the transition from three to five council members the fifth council member will initially serve a two-year term.

Resolution 02-2020 revises the qualifications of council members, adding the word “immediately” to the line that reads “shall be registered voters of the town for at least six months preceding their election,” a change sparked by the recent controversy involving Shonts after his registration was changed without his intent just days before the election.

In Worth’s email comment concerning Resolution 02-2020, he said: “I recently realized that the purpose of the voter registration requirement is to verify that candidates for Town Council are U.S.Citizens. Without that requirement, a non-citizen resident could run for Town Council.

“That being said, I think that the registration requirement should be verified only at the time that a Candidate is certified. This would eliminate any confusion that might occur after someone is elected. I also don’t think there is any way to actually verify that someone has been registered for six months — the state database only tracks when a person registered in the county.”

Worth offered revised wording for the first sentence of Section 202 based on his recommendation: “Council members shall be at least 25 years of age, have resided in the town for at least two years immediately preceding their election and shall be registered voters of the town at the time they are certified for election.”

The Council took no action on his recommendation.

Resolution 03-2020 revises the number of affirmative votes required for the suspension of the ordinance requirements for an emergency ordinance.

Resolution 04-2020 revises provisions related to the election of council members.

Resolution 05-2020 revises provisions related to vote count.

Resolution 06-2020 revises provisions related to uncontested elections. It says if the number of candidates is equal to the number of open seats, then the election will be canceled. It also says if not enough candidates file to fill the open seats, the members with expiring terms will continue to serve until a candidate is elected and qualified to replace them.

Resolution 07-2020 revises provisions related to tie votes. If candidates can’t decide among themselves, then the question would go to a special election.

With these changes in place, three Council seats will be open for election in October.

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