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Harrington puts $146,000 price tag on special election

By Staff | Feb 27, 2010

The price of a special election to replace Eric Grill would cost the city more than $146,000, according to Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington.
Despite the price tag, Council member Marty McClain thinks the city should move forward with the election, ensuring the city gets the most qualified person to fill the District 5 chair.
“I feel its the fairest way to get someone put in that seat,” McClain said.
Last year’s primary election cost the city exactly $146,450, Harrington said, adding a special election would cost the city roughly the same amount.
Harrington said the election couldn’t be held until after the November election.
“As soon as the Nov. 2 election is finished we could have one in late November or early December,” she said.
Council will more than likely make the decision on Monday whether they will use a special election or an appointment process to replace Grill, who has been suspended by the governor while he awaits adjudication on a charge of making or furnishing a false statement related to a business deal.
McClain said he doesn’t favor the appointment process, but said he realizes waiting until the end of the year puts an additional burden on council.
“Time is of the essence … and appointment or not, somebody needs to be sitting in that seat,” McClain said. “We have to be able to put the best qualified person in that seat, and I do stress qualified.”
There’s the possibility the city could hold a special election, just to see Eric Grill return to the seat if he’s found innocent in a court of law.
Mayor John Sullivan said he would not support spending the money on a special election, especially since the eventual winner would only see a year in office once the election was complete, as Grill has only two years left in his term.
Regarding criticism aimed at the appointment, Sullivan said past appointees, like Gloria Tate and Chris Berardi, did not draw those same criticisms.
“Where were they (critics) when these other appointments were going down?” Sullivan asked.
If council does decide the take the appointment route, the board will have 30 days to decide, according to Sullivan.
“We don’t have a lot of time … we have to make a decision, and It think that decision will be Monday,” Sullivan added.