Richardson to hold first mayoral election since 1956

February 10, 2013 by  

On the recent Election Day, the citizens of Richardson voted by a three-to-one margin to hold direct elections for the office of mayor. This amendment of the 57-year-old city charter has at least two campaigns scurrying to their email lists and sign printing services.

The successful change is the culmination of the efforts of the ‘Richardson Citizens For A More Democratic Government’, who gathered double the number of signatures to put the issue on last year’s ballot. The group was founded by Alan North after his unsuccessful 2011 city council campaign, to address issues he was made aware of during campaigning.

Under the 1956 charter, seven council members were elected by the citizens. The four district and three at-large councilmembers then selected a mayor from among themselves. According to the new amendment, the mayor will be elected directly by the people and will replace one of the at-large council seats. In January 2012, the council voted 6-1 against putting a similar reform before the voters.

The sole dissenting vote in that instance was Councilman Amir Omar, who was the first to definitely declare his candidacy. Omar, first elected in 2009, is known for his hard work and independent voting. His current seat is incidentally also the one that is being replaced by the position of mayor.

Mayor pro tempore Laura Maczka was elected in 2009 and is the only other mayoral candidate thus far. The Executive Director of a non-profit educational organization, she has garnered the endorsements of an impressive number of former city officials.

The election will be held May 11.