A former assembly member and former mayor are asking for a change in how people are elected to Petersburg’s borough assembly. In a letter to the borough, former assembly member and city councilor John Hoag along with former city mayor and manager Don Koenigs asked for a change to the borough code. The two are seeking a system that would have candidates running for a specific assembly seat each election. The past two elections have seen six candidates running for two seats.
John Hoag explained the change to the assembly Monday. “We think there should be clearer choices for A or B or A versus B-C than try to pick two out of five people,” Hoag said. “I know when I first came to Petersburg and looked at a ballot and said who are all these folks it was tougher for me to get the information that made comfortable voting. Because sometimes it’s easier to say I know what this person stands for and I know what this person stands for and then I’ve got a clear choice. But sorting out a number of people I think dilutes sometimes having clear choices on what you want in a candidate and what you want them to be doing.”
Hoag explained he’d rather see the clerk assign a number to each open seat every election. Then candidates would file for one seat or another. He thought that would make a clearer choice between an incumbent assembly member and someone challenging for that position. Hoag and Koenigs proposed making the change by three readings of an ordinance.
Petersburg’s borough charter only requires that assembly members are elected at-large, meaning they represent the entire borough and not specific districts. The assembly took no action on the proposal this month but could at a later date.
In other business, the assembly approved a bid award to Tamico, Incorporated of Petersburg for 188-thousand 500 dollars. That money will pay for a new dock next to the harbor master’s office.