Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Centreville Town Council Election UPDATE

In the "news you (unfortunately) won't find in the newspaper" section, the filing deadline for running for the Centreville Town Council has come and it has gone. March 2nd was the deadline, and after confirming with town staff, I can report that current councilman, Tim McCluskey has filed for reelection, and no one has filed to oppose him.

As such, per the recent change in the town's charter, there will not be a town election in April. McCluskey will simply be certified as the new council member at the April 16 reorganization meeting. A (fairly) comprehensive search of the town's website finds no hint, not a whisper, about the town election that no longer needs to be held, the town's online events calendar has no entry for the March 2nd candidate filing deadline, and has no entry for the (now unnecessary) election. The next "town event" listed on the town homepage is the April 11 Project Clean Stream event. There is no news about who has filed as a candidate, and indeed, there is no announcement that the town election no longer needs to be held, due to a lack of competition for the council seat. Perhaps this information went out as part of the weekly email, but there is no archive of those emails on the Centreville website, and further, there isn't even a 'search' function for the town's website.

A similar search of The Record Observer website also finds no mention of the Centreville election, proof that the press generally won't find something they aren't looking for.

All of this strikes me as pretty amazing and somewhat worrisome. I have no issues with cancelling the April election, the outcome seems pretty clear and there is no need to be going through the motions for a foregone conclusion.But it is absolutely critical that Centreville town government should be making this information widely available. Press releases should have been sent about the approaching filing deadline, about who the candidates are, and when only one files, another press release should be sent announcing that there won't be an election.  When you click on the Press Releases tab on the town site, you are informed in somewhat Orwellian fashion that "There is no News." No news? Really? An election doesn't qualify as news?  The Town News tab also features nothing about the election.

In a town with 4,000 people, your best kept secret shouldn't be about an election.

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