Top Row – Left to Right: Mayor Jim Wickham, Vice Mayor Urban Carmel, Councilmember Stephen Burke Bottom Row – Left to Right – Councilmember Max Perrey, Councilmember Caroline Joachim, Mill Valley City Hall

Mill Valley residents eyeing a potential challenge in March to members of the City Council will have to wait until November.

That’s according to the Marin Independent Journal, which reported that the council voted unanimously to move the contest, which had been slated for the March primary, to the November 2023 general election. Councilmember Urban Carmel was absent for the vote.

The decision creates an eight-month term extension for Carmel, who was elected for a four-year term in March 2020, and Councilmember Caroline Joachim, elected to a one-year short-term seat in March of this year. Joachim succeeded Sashi Sabaratnam, who resigned to move out of the city.

It also means five-month term extensions for Mayor Jim Wickham, elected to a two-year short-term seat in June 2022; Councilmember Stephen Burke, elected for a four-year term in June 2022, and Councilmember Max Perrey, elected for a four-year term in June 2022.

Wickham, who is set to hand over the mayorship to Carmel as part of the annual rotation of the role, said the decision was driven by a desire to improve turnout. “It’s better to be in sync with national politics,” Wickham told the IJ. “I think we all agree that the November time period is a better alignment.”

Officials also expressed concern that primary election dates alternate between March in presidential primary years and June in non-presidential primary years. The situation results in city councilmembers with different term expirations because of varying election certifications. Wickham said the decision to hold the election during the primary was made in 2017, also to improve turnout. But pandemic developments such as statewide mail-in ballots prompted the decision to align the elections again with November.

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