By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.
The Everett City Council continued to wrestle with a proposal put forth by City Clerk Michael Matarazzo, to establish an Election Commission to replace the existing Board of Registrar of Voters and take over the management of elections for the City Clerk’s office.
The main sticking point for some councilors seems to be that the new Election Commission would be made up of four mayoral appointees, including two of the current registrars. Some on the council expressed concerned about allowing the Mayor’s office to make such appointments, but Clerk Matarazzo noted that he would be making the recommendations for the new appointments to the mayor and the Council will have the right to review and approve the appointments.
Councilor Peter Napolitano seemed to get the Council moving toward a positive vote when he said of Matarazzo, “if we truly respect the job that he does and he is telling you that he needs help with elections because of all the changes in election laws, then we should respect that and give him the help he is asking us for.”
Napolitano noted that the City Clerk and his office must continue to complete all of the regular functions of the office during an election and that changes in the how state and federal elections are conducted, including a new early voting law that allows voters to vote in person at City Hall up to 10 days before election day, has created more stress for the position.
Matarazzo also noted that under state law, the City Clerk will still be the primary responsible party for ensuring compliance with election laws.
Councilor Fred Capone asked for more time to review the minutes of the subcommittee session that was held on the issue, and the Council voted unanimously to table the vote until its next meeting.