Mayor Vincent C. Gray said today he’s ready to propose nominees to the city elections board “at the earliest opportunity” once legislators return to work next month.
In an interview with NewsChannel 8’s Bruce DePuyt, Gray said he intended to “move as expeditiously as we possibly can” to fill both empty seats on the Board of Elections and Ethics — a long-vacant slot reserved for a non-Democrat and the seat that current board chairman Togo D. West Jr. announced that he will soon vacate.
The situation is somewhat less dire than it might be; Gray said West had agreed to stay on as chair until his replacement is found. Should there be two vacancies on the three-member board, it would be unable to function.
DePuyt asked Gray if he intended to appoint a Republican to the non-Democratic seat, as has been tradition but not a legal requirement. He was noncommittal: “We will try to nominate the best possible person we can.”
Meanwhile, West and fellow board member Charles Lowery have moved to create a little more certainty in the BOEE’s management.
The board has made Paul Stenbjorn, who was named the BOEE’s acting top manager after Rokey W. Suleman’s sudden departure last month, its permanent executive director.
Stenbjorn, who previously served as chief technology officer, said the change in title would not be accompanied by major changes, but it does add stability ahead of next spring’s primaries.
“My intention is to maintain the professional administration of elections here at the board,” he said. “We’re planning for 2012. We have a lot of work to do before April.”