The Town Council decided to appoint someone to fill the vacancy in the District D seat, which represents the westside of Watertown. Applicants must agree not to run for the seat in the November Town Election.
The seat became vacant when Ken Woodland stepped down after taking a job that does not allow him to serve on the Town Council in April.
The Council debated whether or not to even fill the seat, and other details, such as whether the person would be able to run for re-election in the fall. Councilor John Gannon asked how the Town could enforce the rule that the person could not run for the seat in the Town Election.
Town Attorney Mark Reich, from KP Law, said that there is nothing the Town can do to prevent someone from running, but other steps could be taken. First, the Town Charter says that someone appointed to fill a vacancy on the Council would not be listed as an incumbent on the ballot, Reich said. Also, the Council could revoke the appointment at the time that the appointee takes out candidates papers to run for the seat.
The Council voted 6-2 in favor of appointing someone to fill the District D seat, with Mark Sideris and Angeline Kounelis voting “no.”
The Town of Watertown sent out the following announcement about the District D Councilor appointment process:
The Town Council of the City Known as the Town of Watertown is accepting applications to fill the vacancy in District D.
Pursuant to Watertown’s Home Rule Charter, the appointment will stand until the 2021 Watertown municipal election, which will be held on November 2, 2021. Also pursuant to said Charter, an appointment shall be made by a vote of not less than six (6) Councilors.
All applicants must commit to not run in the 2021 municipal election.
The Watertown Town Council regularly meets every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month, except during July and August. Meetings are held at 7:00 p.m. in the Richard E. Mastrangelo Council Chamber, Administration Building, 149 Main Street or through virtual meetings until further notice.
Additionally, Town Councilors serve on the Charter Review Committee and are expected to serve on at least three of the Council’s standing committees and attend all Special Meetings of the Town Council.
Any interested party who is a resident and registered voter of District D should submit a resume, a cover letter explaining any past or current public service and why he or she is interested in serving on the Town Council, as well as a maximum of two (2) letters of endorsement.
Applications will be accepted until Friday, June 4, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. and should be emailed to Marilyn Pronovost, the Town Council Clerk, at email@example.com. Candidates will be required to be interviewed at a later date.
Please note that should an individual be appointed to fill the District D vacancy and then seek election for the District D Councilor position in the 2021 municipal election, the appointment shall be automatically terminated.