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The Case For and the Case Against Staggered Elections in Bluefield, West Virginia

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Billy Hester

on 2 October 2017

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Transcript of The Case For and the Case Against Staggered Elections in Bluefield, West Virginia

The Case For and the Case Against Staggered Elections in Bluefield, West Virginia
How It Works Now...
"... city shall have a board of directors of five members. All directors shall serve for a term of four years and until their successors are elected... shall appoint, within ten days after their election, one of their number as their chairman or presiding officer, who shall be known officially as mayor..."
Three District Representatives
Two At-Large Representatives
Section 7 of City Charter
Mayor selected by the elected representatives
How It Works Now...
A New Calendar of Elections
To begin setting staggered terms, district candidates will run for a four (4) year term. During the same election, at-large candidates will run for a one-time only two (2) year term.
District candidates will run for a four (4) year term. District candidates remain on a set four (4) year term.
At- large candidates will run for four (4) year term.
At-large candidates will run for a four (4) year term in this election year. At-large candidates are now on a set four (4) year term, staggering elections.
District candidates will run for four (4) year term.
The Case for Staggered Elections
The Case Against Staggered Elections
2016 Dates to Remember
August 16-November 2
Absentee Voting
October 26-November 5
Early voting open at following locations:

Mercer County Courthouse
Bluefield Recreation Center
Bluewell Pharmacy Building
Ashworth Baptist Church

M-F: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Saturday: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
November 1-8
Emergency Absentee Voting
November 8
Election Day 2016
“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in”.

-Author Unknown
At-Large Candidates
District Candidates
Prepared by the City of Bluefield City Manager's Office October 2016
#1: Continuity and Loss of Institutional Knowledge
In a clean sweep of the board, a loss of historical knowledge can take place. This can be compounded when city staff leave at the same time. Processes can stop and good ideas may be unrealized.
#3: Relationships Maybe Squandered
Building political connections takes time and energy. A clean sweep may isolate a local government.
#2: Projects Fall By the Wayside
Good projects that may not have been accurately or wisely communicated may not be fulfilled. If monies and energies were spent putting a plan together, those resources are wasted.
#4: Common Practice
This works well for other elected bodies across the nation
#1: Continuity Through Staff
We utilize a city manager form of government. A professional staff can provide information to bring newly elected board members up to speed on projects. In theory, records, a comprehensive plan, and capital improvement plans should be in place to guide elected officials.
#2: Time to Learn
Filing begins in March - elections are in June - board takes office in August, providing five months to learn and grasp the duties/bound.
#3: Building a New Budget Not Urgent
New budgeting takes place the following fiscal year. The incoming board lives with the budget of the previous board their first year in office.
#4: New Blood is Sometimes Necessary
A clean sweep can be a good thing. New energy, new blood, and new ideas can reinvigorate any organization.
What's on the Ballot?

The purpose of the amendments are to revise Sections 6, 7, 18, 19, and 95 of Part I, the Charter of the City of Bluefield, by providing staggered elections so that no more than three of the five members of the Board of Directors may be elected at the same election. In order to accomplish the transition to staggered terms, the two at-large members elected at the June, 2017 election will serve a two year term and then at-large elections will revert back to every four years thereafter, beginning with the June, 2019 at-large election.

For the Amendment: ________

Against the Amendment: _______
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