WOONSOCKET â€“ Another potential candidate for mayor and two for City Council surfaced as the final day to declare candidacy for the upcoming Nov. 5 local election came and went on Tuesday.
Roland M. Michaud, of 598 Manville Road, a member of the Zoning Board of Review and a frequent speaker on topics at meetings of the City Council, tossed his hat into the mayorâ€™s contest, which also includes declarations by Mayor Leo T. Fontaine, state Rep. Lisa Baldelli-Hunt, David A. Fisher and Michael E. Moniz.
Michaud most recently joined the effort to raise funding for a possible legal challenge to the cityâ€™s imposition of a supplemental tax intended to raise $2.5 million for the cityâ€™s ongoing budget difficulties.
Filing declarations with Board of Canvassers Manager Estelle Corriveau Tuesday for City Council were Council President John F. Ward of 166 Getchell Ave. and Garrett Mancieri of 372 Congress St., a local Realtor.
Those additions bring the number of potential candidates declaring for council to 15, a field that would require a primary contest on Oct. 8, if all successfully complete the nomination process.
In addition to Ward and Mancieri, also declaring intentions are Jeffery P. Belknap, a School Department employee, Council incumbents Christopher A. Beauchamp, Marc A. Dubois, Albert G. Brien, Robert R. Moreau, Daniel M. Gendron, Roger G. Jalette Sr., School Committee members Christopher M. Roberts and Anita Ann McGuire-Forcier, Melissa A. Murray, Eric Cartier, and Zoning Board members Kathryn M. Dumais, and Richard J. Fagnant.
Following the 4 p.m. closing of the declaration period, Board of Canvassers Chairman James Allam said two members of the panel met to rule on the eligibility of Belknap to participate in the election process given his employment as a school maintenance worker.
City Solicitor Joseph Carroll had ruled that Belknap could not remain employed by the school department if elected to the council under state election laws. Allam said he and board member Pauline Payeur voted to accept Belknapâ€™s declaration as a candidate and noted if he completes the nomination process he will appear on the ballot.
â€śThe solicitorâ€™s interpretation of what the law stated is that he can not serve on the council while he is employed with the school department,â€ť Allam said. â€śHe would have to choose to give up his job or not be certified for office.â€ť
Candidates may successfully complete the election process but then must be certified for office by the Board of Canvassers following the election, according to Allam. â€śThat is an issue for another time,â€ť he added.
Before the Nov. 5 election is held, all of the candidates declaring for office will have to take out nomination papers beginning Sept. 3, and return them with at least 100 signatures of registered city voters by 4 p.m. on Sept. 17.
If all of the candidates remain in the running, the Oct. 8 primary would reduce the field for Mayor to two candidates and the field for Council to 14 candidates to create the ballot for Nov. 5.