In an April 18, 2016, letter to the editor published by the Free Lance-Star, Scott Olsen, uncle of school board candidate Charlotte Horne, wrote that a win by candidate Jannan Holmes would leave a vacancy in Ward 3.
Holmes has two years left in her Ward 3 term, but decided to run for the at-large seat so that her family can have more options where to live in the city. To serve Ward 3 you must live in Ward 3.
“As my husband and I approach our oldest son leaving for college, and our youngest son following in a couple of years, we would like the flexibility to look at downsizing our house,” Holmes said. “Being an at-large school board member allows me to continue to work on making Fredericksburg City Public Schools the best they can be, and look at houses outside of Ward 3.”
Olsen believes Holmes should keep her Ward 3 seat. “[C]ommon sense, leastways to me, dictates that residents cast their ballots for Bailey and Horne to fill the two at-large seats and allow Holmes to fulfill her obligation to Ward 3 residents,” Olsen wrote.
Olsen questioned what would happen should Holmes win an at-large seat. “Will there have to be a special election? If so, what is the associated cost to city residents? How long would the Ward 3 seat be vacant and what is the time frame for holding a follow-on election?”
Juanita Pitchford, Director of Elections and General Registrar for the City of Fredericksburg, said if Holmes wins the at-large seat, the remaining members of the school board may appoint someone to fill the Ward 3 vacancy until the vacancy is filled by special election. That special election would be held concurrent with the general election on November 8, 2016, and “there would be no additional cost to the City,” Pitchford said.
Although Olsen did not indicate in his letter his relationship to Horne, the candidate confirmed he is her uncle. “He and I have spoken about the campaign, however he is not involved with the campaign,” Horne told Fredericksburg Today. “He took it upon himself to write the letter, I found out about it only after he submitted it.”
“I think it is definitely something to keep in mind as we get closer to the election,” she said of her uncle’s letter. “I think the more diversity we can have on the Board the better. I would love the opportunity to work with every member of the current School Board, and if Mrs. Holmes were to keep her Ward 3 seat we would all be able to work together to make the schools the best they possibly can be.”
Holmes is still running for the at-large seat.
Per the 2015 Virginia Election Laws section §24.2-228: “When a vacancy occurs in an elected school board, the remaining members of the board, respectively, within 45 days of the office becoming vacant, may appoint a qualified voter of the election district in which the vacancy occurred to fill the vacancy, If a majority of the remaining members of the board cannot agree, or do not act, the judges of the circuit court of Fredericksburg City may make the appointment. The appointed person shall hold office only until the qualified voters fill the vacancy by a special election pursuant to §24.2-682 and the person elected has qualified. Any person so appointed shall hold office the same as an elected person and shall exercise all powers of the elected office.”
“§24.2-682. Times for special elections. Notwithstanding any charter or special act to the contrary, the following provision govern the times for holding a special election.
Every special election shall be held on a Tuesday. No special election shall be held within the 55 days prior to a general or primary election. A special election may be held on the same day as a general election.”
Fredericksburg School Board Election 2016
School Board Candidate Questionnaire: Jarvis Bailey
School Board Candidate Questionnaire: Jannan Holmes
School Board Candidate Questionnaire: Charlotte Horne
School Board Candidate’s Uncle Believes Another Candidate Should Not Be Running
Video: Fredericksburg Candidate Forum by FredXchange
FredXchange Hosts Candidate Forum
Additional stories about the City of Fredericksburg May 3, 2016, General Election:
Mayoral Candidate Questionnaire: Mary Katherine Greenlaw
Mayoral Candidate Questionnaire: Richard Dynes
City Council Candidate Questionnaire: Kerry Devine
City Council Candidate Questionnaire: Matt Kelly
Video: Closing Statements from Mayoral Candidates Debate
City of Fredericksburg May 3 General Election Details
New Voting System Will Be Launched for May 3 General Election
Second Fredericksburg Mayoral Debate Scheduled for April 20
Richard Dynes Enters Race for Fredericksburg Mayor
Mayor Greenlaw Announces Bid for Re-Election
Matt Kelly Announces Re-Election Run