Sunday, March 3

Anticipated Form 6 resignations create open space on Palm Beach County ballots

Dozens of council members could soon resign from their jobs because of new financial disclosure requirements.

Now, Palm Beach County’s board of elections is preparing to cope with the fallout.

All municipalities in Palm Beach County have to submit their final ballot by Dec. 15.

All office holders have to submit their “Form 6” statements by Jan. 1.

So, if an officeholder who is not up for reelection quits between Dec. 15 and the end of the year, it presents a problem.

Loxahatchee Groves Mayor Laura Danowski warned of several resignations in small communities as a result of Form 6.

Form 6 is the new financial disclosure form promoted as adding transparency to local governments and rooting out potential conflicts of interest.

Opponents call “Form 6” onerous and invasive.

Elected officials will have to list all their assets worth more than $1,000, and in some cases name their large clients and how much they pay.

“I think that’s a complete invasion of your privacy,” Danowski said.

She’s scrambling to see if she can still stay on as mayor without jeopardizing her horse stable business. Danowski is optimistic she can do it.

Sixteen other officeholders told WPTV that they are either quitting or are considering quitting before the Jan. 1 deadline.

All communities have to complete ballot language, including the names of candidates by Dec. 15.

Palm Beach County’s Supervisor of Elections Wendy Sartory Link is working with communities that may soon have a ballot scramble with officeholders stepping down before their terms end.

“As long as (communities) tell us by Jan. 2 that you have to have another race, we’ll create the ballot with space on it,” Sartory Link said. “We’ll give them a week or so, so they can get their qualifying done.”

Even with that wiggle room, communities could be challenged by sudden resignations as they’ll have a short time to field candidates for open seats.

The elections supervisor said there will be no special elections.

“Because we have our elections in March, some may have runoffs on April 2 if they’re in that position,” Sartory Link said, “and we are actually moving. We’ll be getting ready for a presidential election, and we’ll be moving our office.”

In the meantime, in many small communities, the town councils, and not the voters choose who will fill the unexpired terms of those quitting because of Form 6.

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