NORTH SMITHFIELD – Those who hope to run for office in the November 2020 elections will soon begin filing declarations of candidacy, and in North Smithfield, there are many potential opportunities for those who wish to serve.

Salary for the town’s top office has been boosted to $90,000 in hopes to attract more qualified candidates, and incumbent Town Administrator Gary Ezovski has announced that he will not seek another two-year term.

The five members of Town Council will also face potential challenges, along with three of the five elected members of the North Smithfield School Committee.

The first step in the running process begins in two weeks, when hopefuls must file a declaration of candidacy with the town’s Board of Canvassers. Declaration forms can be found here and will be accepted at by the Town Clerk on June 22, 23 and 24.

Endorsements can be filed with the Board of Canvassers through Thursday, June 25 and in the weeks that follow, those who hope to serve in local government will need to obtain signatures from at least 50 qualified town voters.

Candidates have until Monday, July 13 to withdraw their declarations. Papers will be certified by town’s three-member Board of Canvassers; Paul Connolly, Steven Biron and Gary Lapierre.

If there are more than twice the number of candidates for each field than there are seats available, the town will schedule a primary.

North Smithfield voters approved several charter amendments in 2018 that will are set take effect during the 2020 election cycle. In addition to establishing term limits, the charter changes mandate that the newly elected administrator will serve for four years rather than two.

But arguably the biggest change in 2020 involves the makeup of the school board, with the town reverting back to a five-member elected-only format. That means the two appointed positions – currently held by committee members Christine Charest and Francesca Johannis – will no longer exist.

Seats currently held by Committee Chairman James Lombardi, Vice Chairwoman Jean Meo and Peg Votta, meanwhile, could see challenges.

And Paul Jones, who was elected to the school board in 2018, has announced that he intends to run for the administrator’s seat, a change that could result in a fourth open position on the committee filling the remainder of his four-year term.

Jones is the only individual to announce his intent to run in the upcoming town election to date.

The decision to raise the administrator’s salary from the current $75,000 to $90,000 was approved by the Town Council in May by a 4-0 vote. Councilor Douglas Osier recused himself, noting concerns about a potential conflict of interest, an indication he may also be considering a run for the administrator’s seat.

Winners in the election, scheduled for the first Tuesday in November, will be sworn in in December of this year.

NRI NOW is offering all local candidates the opportunity to discuss their background and platform. Those interest should send biographic information to sandy@nrinow.news

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Sandy Seoane is the founder, publisher, and editor of Northern Rhode Island News On the Web.
A reporter for nearly a decade with experience in both print and online news, Seoane aims to bring a new source of information to the region. She began with the town of Burrillville and has since added coverage in North Smithfield, using her experience in conventional media to bring light to local issues.
A SUNY Albany graduate with much experience covering news in the Blackstone Valley, Seoane previously worked for The Valley Breeze and Woonsocket Patch.