Government
4:00 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

County Council to Consider Allowing Councilmembers to Run for Office without Leaving Office

The Allegheny County Council this evening will consider an ordinance that would ask voters to decide if its members can stay in office while seeking another elected position. Currently the home rule charter stipulates that if any of the part-time councilmembers want to run for higher office, they must resign.

"We're the only elected officials in the county or this part of the state that has to resign their office to run for higher office that are part-time. Another one, I think, possibly Philadelphia County Council, but they're paid like full-time people. So it's really unfair and, I believe, a violation of our constitutional rights," said Councilmember Matt Drozd, who is sponsoring this ordinance.

It would allow councilmembers to stay in office, but they could not accept pay or stipends during their candidacy. Drozd said he doesn't believe there would be any conflict of interest.

"When you're going for another job, anybody in the civilian life, and they apply for another job, they're still working in their same capacity, and you know it may apply to people that are supposed to be paid full-time, but for part-time people like ourselves, people that are in municipal elected positions or county council, which is part-time, I don't think that applies," he said.

The ordinance faces its first consideration Tuesday evening. If ultimately approved the question would be put on the November 2012 ballot.