Nigel Dardar said he will be “in the audience” at Wednesday’s Hancock Town Council meeting instead of at the council table because he filed to run for mayor against incumbent Daniel Murphy.
Dardar said last week that he recently filed to run in the Jan. 28 election. There is a town ordinance, however, that states a sitting council member who files to run must resign, he said.
Murphy, the eight-term mayor of Hancock, said last week he had not filed to run for another two-year term, but will before the Nov. 30 deadline.
Dardar said he checked with the Maryland Municipal League and there are only a few municipalities that have a similar provision that requires a council member to resign when running for mayor. He said his current term on council has two years remaining.
“It’s fairly rare,” Jim Peck, director of research for the Maryland Municipal League, said of Hancock’s charter provision. “As soon as you file for another seat other than your own, you automatically give up your current seat,” he said.
“By virtue of filing, he has in essence resigned,” Murphy said.
“I am concerned about not having openness and transparency,” Dardar said when asked why he wants to run for mayor.
He said he is also concerned about how contracts are bid and awarded by the town.
Elected in 2009, Dardar’s term on the council was set to end in February 2013, when the council and mayor are sworn in following the election in January.
After he filed to run for mayor, Dardar said a police officer went to his house when he was not home to get his town hall keys and ordinance books.
“I did go to his house accompanied by a police officer as a witness” to collect the keys and books, Town Manager David Smith said Friday.
“I’ve contacted him on a number of occasions,” but Dardar had not returned the items or submitted a letter of resignation as of Friday, Smith said. Dardar also was informed by letter, he said.
The town’s charter calls for a council vacancy to be filled within 15 days, and the matter will be considered at Wednesday’s meeting, Smith said.