S TATE and federal elected officials eyeing a run for city offices could soon be required to resign before becoming a candidate.
City Councilman Jim Kenney on Thursday introduced an amendment to the city's Home Rule Charter that would apply to such candidates as a congressman running for mayor.
Should the proposal pass, the decision to change the charter would be left up to voters in November.
Kenney said that the change would "level the playing field." Currently, those who hold city offices must resign before seeking any public office. Six years ago, Kenney pushed a charter change that would allow city officials to remain in office while running for another office, but voters shot down that effort.
Zack Stalberg, president of political-watchdog group Committee of Seventy, said that the board will look at the proposal before taking a formal position.
Stalberg said that there were problems with the current "resign to run" law because it puts the city at a disadvantage and discourages people from running for city and state offices.
Elections attorney Gregory Harvey said that the proposal will likely face a legal challenge.
"By seeking to impose a qualification on the ability to seek a city office," Harvey said, "it is imposing a requirement on the holder of a noncity public office which is not provided for in state law." Kenney said that officials who are able to keep their offices while seeking city offices can use their office to raise campaign funds outside of local campaign limits, receive free publicity and a paycheck.