By Karen Gadbois, The Lens staff writer |
Defying political speculation, Stacy Head told The Lens Wednesday she plans to take office as one of the City Council’s two at-large members before May 7, meaning she would not be eligible for two full terms after this partial term is over.
“I think it is important to take office as quickly as possible with a short transition period.” Head said in a telephone interview.
City voting officials reviewed Saturday’s voting-machine counts and confirmed Tuesday that Head won an exceedingly narrow 281-vote victory over former state legislator and City Council district member Cynthia Willard-Lewis, a frequent but unsuccessful candidate for an at-large seat. Willard-Lewis who has not conceded the race and has said she is considering her options.
Ironically, the only thing that could make Head eligible for an additional four-year term in the at-large seat is if Willard-Lewis files a lawsuit and delays Head’s swearing in past May 7.
That date is key because it marks the half-way point in the four-year term Head will complete for former at-large member Arnie Fielkow, who stepped down on Oct. 1 to take a job in Chicago.
Council members who fill more than half of a term can run only once for a regular four-year term, according to the City Charter. Political pundits, including two reporters at The Times-Picayune, have speculated Head would wait past May 7 to be sworn in, to maximize her hold on the office.
Head said she has “no idea why people are speculating as to my intentions” but that there is a lot of work to be done and she intends to begin as soon as possible.
After the Secretary of State certifies the election, she has 30 days to take office. Unless Willard-Lewis objects, that certification is expected to come Monday.
Head went on to say that she plans to take office as soon as possible with a replacement for District B announcement coming soon.
The swearing in will take place with family, friends and supporters.
Willard-Lewis could not immediately be reached for comment.