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Voters should scrutinize board president election

"Call the Tune" by Executive Editor Mike Anthony

A resolution setting an election for Tuesday, Aug. 3, to fill the remainder of former Mayor Jim Robertson's term was scheduled to be considered earlier this week by the Crestwood Board of Aldermen.

A special election is required in August, according to the City Charter, because there are more than 12 months remaining on the former mayor's term, which would have expired in April 2005. Whoever is elected mayor in August will serve until the following April when the regularly scheduled mayoral election will take place.

In the meantime, the City Charter mandates that the president of the Board of Aldermen — Richard Breeding of Ward 1 — will serve as acting mayor. As acting mayor, Mr. Breeding will continue to have a vote in board deliberations, but will not have the veto power of the mayor, according to the City Charter.

He will serve as acting mayor at least until the Board of Aldermen reorganizes after the April 6 election.

After the April election, the Board of Aldermen has 45 days to select a new board president.

At that time, aldermen could re-elect Mr. Breeding board president or elect another alderman board president. Whoever is elected board president will serve as acting mayor until the Aug. 3 election.

The Board of Aldermen was scheduled to consider the resolution establishing the Aug. 3 mayoral election Tuesday night — after the Call went to press. As proposed, filing for the post would open at 8 a.m. Tuesday, April 13, and continue through 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 18.

It would be our hope that any alderman planning to run for mayor in the August special election would recuse himself or herself from consideration as board president.

We would have to question the propriety of an alderman seeking the mayoral post wanting to serve as board president. Our concern would be that person may be tempted to use the seat of acting mayor to bolster his or her mayoral campaign — perhaps fostering the perception that that person's mayoral candidacy is endorsed by the Board of Aldermen as a whole.

The bottom line is we would have to question the ethics of someone who would attempt to use the position of president of the Board of Aldermen as a springboard to the mayoral post in the special election.

Certainly someone like that would be unfit to be the city's next mayor.

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