CHARLES TOWN – First voters will select new Charles Town City Council members in the May 23 municipal election and then that council will choose Mayor Scott Rogers’ successor in June.
That’s the path the Charles Town City Council agreed on Monday, during the first council meeting since Rogers’ May 1 email announcing that he’ll step down next month.
“This is for the next council to decide,” said Councilman Nick Zaglifa, who is not seeking a second term representing Ward 2.
Mike Tolbert and Ann Paonessa also declined to run for re-election.
Paonessa, now mayor pro tem, recused herself from Monday’s discussion about the mayor’s job, saying she was thinking she might apply for the city’s top leadership role. She is finishing her third term representing Ward 3.
Councilman Mike Brittingham said council members could take part in Monday’s discussion and still seek the mayor’s position.
Peggy Smith, who was elected mayor four times before retiring in 2017, has said she would be willing to step in.
“I’ve already let them know that I am willing to fill the position temporarily for the two years,” Smith said last week. “I’ve offered my services.”
Starting when the new council meets for the first time on June 17, the council will determine the process for choose a mayor to serve until the 2021 municipal election.
City Manager Daryl Hennessy said the first official action for the new council will be to select a council member to serve as mayor pro tem.
Hennessy said Charles Town’s charter and state law direct the council to fill vacated city public offices but don’t specify how or when the council should complete that work.
On Monday, the council agreed to review at its May 20 meeting the steps taken four years ago to fill the Ward 4 seat held by Councilman Mike George.
George said the process included the chance to apply followed by submission of references and interviews.
Hennessy said the council can select any city resident –technically a property owner, according to the city charter – to serve the rest of Rogers’ term.
In his email, Rogers – who ran unopposed in 2017 – announced that he and his family are moving from Charles Town, in part to avoid the controversy of Rockwool. His last day in office is tentatively set for June 17.