By Charles Sercombe
Anyone interested in running for a seat on city council or maybe even the mayor’s office has a little over five weeks to file.
There will be three council seats up for election, currently being occupied by Councilmembers Andrea Karpinski, Mohammed Hassan and Ian Perrotta.
Mayor Karen Majewski is also up for re-election. If she is successful in winning it would be her fourth term.
All positions are four-year terms.
Nominating petitions must be submitted to the City Clerk’s Office by no later than April 25 at 4 p.m.
A statement of organization must also be filed with the Wayne County Election Department.
Candidates must be at least 18 years old and a registered Hamtramck voter.
Petitions must have at least 40 signatures from Hamtramck voters and no more than 100.
Or, candidates can skip collecting signatures and pay a $100 filing fee.
Anyone on city council who was thinking of challenging the mayor already missed the deadline to resign from office, which is required if a councilmember’s term does not expire this year.
So far, Councilmember Hassan, whose term does expire this year, has said he plans to run for mayor.
The role of mayor and council is still limited. The city’s financial decisions are being supervised by a state-appointed Receivership Transition Advisory Board. The board was created over two years ago after the state-appointed emergency manager’s term expired.
The EM was in charge for 18 months, meaning Hamtramck has not been under local control for almost four years. However, City Manager Katrina Powell has been running the day-to-day operations of the city.
While there is no end date for the RTAB, a transition seems to be in the works. The RTAB recently decided to take a reduced role in supervising the city. In other cities where that happened local control was returned within a year.
Yet again, Hamtramck’s circumstances leading up to a financial crisis and eventually the appointment of an emergency manager were unique. One of the key factors the state cited in taking over control was the city’s ongoing culture of political infighting and instability.
That situation has not changed much. Four of the city’s six councilmembers have consistently butted heads with City Manager Katrina Powell over a number of issues.
Hamtramck made national and international news in the last council election, which turned the council into a Muslim majority. That milestone is thought to be a first for any American city.
If past elections are any guide, Mayor Majewski could be vulnerable this election year. Bengali and Yemeni-American voters, most of whom are of the Muslim faith, have continued to increase in recent years, and there is a strong chance a Muslim candidate could win the mayor’s position. There is also a strong possibility that candidates of the Muslim faith will take over the entire city council.