On Monday April 19, the Town Council considered how to designate the role of Acting Mayor going forward from Mayor Chris Cerino’s resignation to the November elections. Ward 1 Councilmember Meghan Efland was appointed Acting Mayor for the meeting.
Options included: a rotation among current council members from meeting to meeting or month to month; elect an acting mayor from the council for the year’s duration to the November 2021 elections, or hold a special election.
As per City Manager Bill Ingersoll, all options are open according to the town charter, but that the council has a 45-day window to decide based on the date of Mayor Cerino’s resignation.
Ward 2 Councilmember Tom Herz asked about protocols for community members’ interest in becoming acting mayor.
Ward 3 Councilmember Rev. Ellsworth Tolliver maintained that continuity should first be preserved by electing from with the current council. Failing that, a rotating mayoral role should be implemented rather than consider outside options.
“My feeling is that whoever serves in that position should come from the four of us. We have some extremely important issues that we’re facing right now and the four of us know exactly where we stand from all those issues. So, I think we should go about how to nominate one of us,” Tolliver said.
Ward 1 Councilmember Foster recommended more consideration. “Personally, I feel need to understand a little bit more on the goals of each of our council members as well as any potential people at large within the community. I think both are real possibilities, but I feel a need to kind of weigh those options and I’m not sure it’s fair to throw out names of any individuals at this point before we get it a chance to talk with those individuals,”.
A motion to elect a mayor from the Council on the May 3 meeting, or to rotate the position among council members, and if no final decision is made, to review outside applications during the May 17 council meeting, was passed 3-1 with Tolliver voting against.
A motion to accept letters from community members interested the mayoral position was passed. Letters and resumés should be sent to the Chestertown Town Clerk.
The council also recommended using the rotating model that an acting mayor retains that position until the next council meeting.