Hooksett officials flub election posting period
HOOKSETT — The filing period to run for elected municipal office ended Friday in Hooksett.
On Monday, Clark Karolian, who signed up to contend for one of two posted three-year at-large seats on the Town Council, was informed that one of the openings was supposed to be a one-year position
Because he didn’t realize he had an option, Karolian is slated to challenge incumbent chairman James Sullivan for the three-year post. Had he known beforehand, he said he would have filed for the one-year opening, which is currently uncontested. The lone individual to file for the one-year vacancy was Adam Jennings, who was appointed to the council last year after Leslie Boswak stepped down.
“I looked at the town website and looked at the postings, and it said all four open positions (including vacancies in Districts 2 and 3) were for three years,” said Karolian, a former Hooksett police commissioner. “I thought it was going to be the three of us (including Sullivan and Jennings) running against each other with the top-two vote-getters filling the two open positions.
“Essentially, I was being denied the one-year term, which will automatically go uncontested now,” he added. “And it’s not just me. I have to wonder how many other potential candidates may have been willing to file had they known (the position) was for one year and not three. I guess we may never know, but this needs to be corrected.”
Hooksett Town Clerk Todd Rainier confirmed the mishap, but said the next step has yet to be determined.
David Scanlan, deputy secretary of state, said his office has been apprised of the situation by Hooksett officials.
“We suggested they discuss the issue with their town attorney,” he said. “If the situation gets challenged at the local election, it will be the attorney defending the actions of the town, so it’ll really be up to the attorney to decide if they should extend the filing period or open another abbreviated filing period for the particular position in question.”
The situation, said Scanlon, is not without precedent.
“I know that it’s happened,” he said. “Every year, it seems, there’s a town somewhere in the state that incorrectly posts the length of a term or maybe the amount of openings.”