Voters to Get a Say on “Resign to Run”?

Voters to Get a Say on “Resign to Run”?

At this week’s meeting of Allegheny County Council there will be the first reading of an ordinance that proposes a ballot question to amend the County’s Home Rule Charter.  Specifically, the language on the “requirements and prohibitions” of elected officials.

That section of the Charter has three “requirements and prohibitions”: the County Executive can’t be a nominee or candidate for more than one County office at the same time; a member of County Council can’t be a nominee or candidate for any elected political office without having first resigned from their Council seat; and neither the Executive or a member of Council can hold any other political office while holding their County position and, unless the Charter permits it, they can’t receive any other pay from the County or a County authority.

The proposed ordinance seeks to eliminate the second provision requiring County Council members to resign prior to running for another office.

Back in 2003 the question of the “resign to run” requirement went on the ballot but was defeated (the same thing happened across the state in Philly in 2014).  In 2016 when the Charter-required Government Review Commission produced its recommendations it suggested scrapping the “resign to run” requirement and making the language about not being able to run for two County offices simultaneously apply to Council.

If the ordinance passes Council it would go before the Allegheny County electorate in November.  The ordinance calls for Article III, 6(b) to be deleted, but the ordinance does not explicitly spell out what 6(b) does (that is where the “resign to run” language is located).  Maybe that will be in the plain language explanation of the question should it make it on the ballot, but wouldn’t good governance suggest that appear in the question along with the language of 6(a) (that is where the dual office seeking prohibition is located)?