BANGOR — Friday the 13th is the operative date for those aspiring to become a city councilor for seven months. Feb. 13 is the last day the city clerk’s office will accept petitions from residents for the April 14 special election.
The City Council has called the election to fill the unexpired term of Charles Sullivan, who died in December during his sixth year on the panel.
By midafternoon Friday, just one candidate had taken out nomination petitions. He is Gerry G.M. Palmer Jr., who finished a strong fourth in last November’s election behind Nichi Farnham, Michael Crowley and John Rohman. Six candidates ran for the three council seats available in that election.
Candidates must obtain the signatures of 150-200 registered voters on their petitions, City Clerk Gail Campbell said Friday. Papers may be turned in as early as Jan. 26, and must be turned in by Friday, Feb. 13.
Those circulating petitions for a candidate must witness the signature of each voter, and must attest to that. The petitions are public record.
Voters may sign petitions for as many candidates as there are seats available — in this case, one. Last fall, with three seats available, some signatures were invalidated when voters signed papers for more than three candidates.
The expense of holding a special election is $8,000 to $9,000, and the councilors’ decision to hold one was not made lightly.
They considered leaving the seat vacant until the November election, but decided that Bangor’s residents deserved to be represented by a full complement of nine councilors.
It will be the third year in a row that Bangor has held a special council election in the spring. Two years ago, Timothy Woodcock, now mayor, was elected in March to fill the unexpired term of William Shubert, who had died.
Farnham won a February 1997 election to fill the term of Marshall Frankel, who had resigned the previous fall.