Special Election Called to Fill Ward 1 Council Seat Vacancy

March 4, 2015
By

The Revere City Clerk and the Election Commission will likely call for a Special Election after the March 9 City Council meeting in order to fill the vacancy in Ward 1 left by the passing of Richard Penta last week.

According to election officials, a Special Election must take place for a vacated ward seat if there is more than six month left in a term. For purposes of the law, a term ends on Dec. 31, meaning that any vacancy prior to June in an election year, such as this, would require a Special Election.

Any candidate prevailing in the Special Election would have to also run in the November City Election.

The same situation unfolded when the late Ward 1 Councillor Jim Kimmerle passed away in office during early 2010. That was not an election year, but a Special Election was held.

In that election, Corey Abrams beat Penta.

However, Abrams resigned after eight days, triggering another Special Election that Penta won.

Were it an at-large vacancy, there would be a different process.

In an at-large seat, the runner up is automatically sworn in – as was done when the late Councillor George Colella died in 2010.

During that process, former Councillor John Correggio was sworn into the seat, having been the runner up in the 2009 City Election.

Election Commissioner Diane Colella said the process is governed by Special Legislation (Chapter 147) passed by the state legislature in 2004.

That, in large part, was to replace the process used to fill in the vacant seat left when At-Large Councillor Joe DelGrosso passed away while in office. In that process, the Council changed protocol and instead of nominating the runner-up, Carol Sinclair, it chose to put in a placeholder – which was Kenny Haggar.

Diane Colella said the current process could not be changed in the current situation.

City Councillors on March 9 are expected to make public remembrances to their late colleague.

Following that, the election will be called and a detailed election calendar will be released afterward.

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