It’s June but the City Council race for Rockville is incredibly quiet compared to a couple years ago. Every seat on the City Council (terms are two years) are up for grabs in November 2011 election. The latest rumors I’ve heard are:
- Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio: will run for another term, and if she wins, will again attempt to fire the City Manager (which will probably prompt a half dozen other senior staff to leave), continue to use city taxes to support Red Gate Golf Course, and work to cut city property tax rate (and along with it, cut city services). She will most likely move to revise the city charter to make the Mayor the Chief Executive of the City (or just act like she’s the Chief Executive).
- Councilmember John Britton: regretfully, won’t run for another term.
- Councilmember Piotr Gajewski: will run for Mayor as the only opponent to incumbent Mayor Marcuccio. He frequently advocates for transparency in governance and data-driven decision-making, which run counter to the approach used by some of his colleagues on the Council. On the other hand, he has advocated for a revised charter to move from a City Manager form of government to a Strong Mayor, which is a bad idea for Rockville.
- Councilmember Bridget Newton: heir to the seat held by Anne Robbins, and thankfully, won’t run for another term.
- Councilmember Mark Pierzchala: thankfully, will run for another term.
- John Hall: former councilmember hoping to return to council. Supported by former councilmember Anne Robbins, former mayors Susan Hoffman and Larry Giammo, and current Mayor Marcuccio (once again, politics makes strange bedfellows). Pleasant, funny guy but conflict averse.
- Dion Trahan: new Planning Commissioner. He’s the one who wears bowties and asks lots of questions.
- Joe Jordan: he’s not running, but is developing a slate of candidates to give Phyllis Marcuccio a majority on the Council to ensure that Red Gate Golf Course survives and to remove his nemesis City Manager Scott Ullery. With Councilmember Newton’s departure (she often votes with Marcuccio), this will be very difficult (and if he succeeds, it will be devastating to the City’s leadership and governance).
If you’ve been counting, that means that there will be very little choice on the ballot this year and that puts our City at risk. A special interest group might be able to take over City Council if they can muster the candidates and money in the next few months (it’s happened here in the past!). Again, this is just word on the street and I haven’t been able to verify much of this information. Candidates have to submit their petitions in early September, so we’ll have to wait a bit longer to know who will really be on the ballot in November.