City Election May Be Postponed — CBC Meeting Thursday
By GEORGE BROMLEY
Falls Church Times Staff
Since its founding, Falls Church City always has held its municipal elections in May or June. However, that might not be the case in 2010.
Two members of the City Council may introduce a resolution that would shift the next election to November, when it would coincide with races for federal offices. Councilmen Dan Sze and Lawrence Webb are proposing the change.
According to its Charter, Falls Church municipal elections will be held the first Tuesday in May (Section 3.01). The only exception applies to City officers mandated by laws of the Commonwealth, who will be elected the first Tuesday in November (Section 3.05). These are limited to the sheriff, the treasurer, and the commissioner of revenue.
May elections officially are non-partisan. Those held in November are not. All current Commonwealth officers are Democrats.
Moving the date of the May election would require amending the Charter. This could be accomplished via the passage of a resolution by the majority of the entire Council (Section 4.17 (c).
Such action would require four votes. If passed, the resolution would be forwarded to the General Assembly, which normally approves such changes without debate.
The Council has amended the Charter many times, but most of the changes have been minor. Citizens also may change the Charter via referendum. An attempt to limit the amount of residential development in commercially zoned property was defeated in 2008.
Virginia jurisdictions have held municipal elections in the spring since at least the 1870s. The Commonwealth’s Constitution, states the governing bodies of cities or towns shall be elected on the second Tuesday in June, but allows for exceptions (Article VII, Section 5).
In the early 1970s Falls Church’s Charter was amended to state that four councilmen shall be elected beginning in May 1974 and every four years thereafter and that three shall be elected in May 1976 and every four years thereafter.
The executive board of Citizens for a Better City, an influential organization which endorses and campaigns for City candidates, was advised of the proposal last week and has called a member meeting on the matter Thursday, October 29, at 7:30 p.m. in the community room of The Byron, 513 West Broad St.
By George Bromley
October 25, 2009