PLYMOUTH - Mayor David Merchant has announced he will run for his third two-year term this year.
Merchant made his announcement recently at the Republic Town Committee’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner at the Pequabuck Golf Club.
He said he hadn’t originally planned to announce at the event, which he said was attended by more than 100 people. “The spirit moved me I guess,” he said. “I didn’t decide until that day that it was the right time.”
The time between municipal elections goes by so fast, Merchant said. “These are basically one-year terms. You have one year to get something done and as soon as you clear January you’ve got to start raising money again.”
Merchant has asked the Charter Revision Commission to consider going to a mix of two-year and four-year mayoral terms, saying running the town is “a complex, full-time job,” although he is not sure he agrees with the idea of hiring a town manager.
He is advocating the electing a mayor for a first two-year term and then if he or she wins a second term it would be for four years.
“If you get re-elected then you’ve obviously earned the public’s trust, and that way you give the guy some time. If you don’t re-elect him again well then start over again with two years,” he said.
He is the only local candidate to announce a 2017 campaign so far. The Republican Town Committee doesn’t have a slate yet.
Democratic Town Committee Chairman Paul Gianesini said the committee is in the process of putting together a Selection/Candidate Committee for the upcoming election season.
“We have started reaching out and will put out a bunch of ads to see who answers the call,” Gianesini said. “We know times are tough across the country and getting worse. We know this town is presently run by all Republicans and we need a good team and strategy.”
“We also know each year quality candidates step up less and less and we can’t just grab any dishwasher from a bakery who wouldn’t be a good leader to fill a spot. People are unhappy with local, state and government leadership so it’s time for serious discussion and changes because this is for Plymouth, for our zip code,” he continued.
Gianesini said he believes the recent charter change reducing the number of council districts from two to one so that all council members are elected town-wide “will really alter the way the campaigns go and the results.” The change was approved by ballot question last November.
According to state parties’ rules, town committees nominate their candidate slates in July.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.