By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
TRENTON — City voters will be asked in November to consider several ballot proposals designed to save money and ensure that a key position is properly filled.
City Administrator Jim Wagner said ballot questions were approved Monday that included eliminating primary runoff contests for elected officials — the offices of mayor, clerk, treasurer and six city council seats — and making the post of city assessor an appointed rather than an elected position.
Council members considered the questions during a special meeting earlier this month. Wagner said Monday’s approval met the deadline for placement on the November general election ballot.
Currently a primary runoff is held for elected officials if there are more than twice the number of candidates for available seats. If there are three or more mayoral candidates, for example, a primary run-off in August is held and the top two vote-getters advance to November.
If approved by voters, the city charter would be amended and all candidates seeking elected offices would compete in the general election. Wagner said the streamlined election process would save costs for both the city and candidates.
“It saves money,” Wagner said. “It also saves money for the person running for office. Everybody runs at one time.”
Council also approved a ballot question to amend the city charter and make the position of city assessor an appointed rather than elected position. Wagner said the position requires technical expertise that many candidates lack.
“It’s so technical,” Wagner said. “You have to have someone with certain certifications. How can you run for office if you can’t do the job? We’re asking that the assessor be appointed by the mayor with city council confirmation.”
(James Mitchell can be reached at [email protected])