2010 CE G The Process and the Rating System

The Process

Preparations for the endorsement and evaluations began in early 2010, when The Citizens League reconstituted The Candidates Program.  Through the summer, the League recruited researchers to provide background information on the candidates that were participating in the special September primary and the candidates from other parties that had declared for the race.  Prior to September 7, when citizens cast their votes in the primaries, the League published Digital Dossiers for each candidate.  The purpose of the Digital Dossiers was to publish the results of the League’s research with web links to the source information. In that way, voters can use their web browsers to review the background data for themselves.

Following the primary, the League circulated questionnaires to the six candidates.  By then, Mr. Dolan had won the Republican primary and Mayor FitzGerald had won the Democratic primary.  They joined Green Party candidate David Ellison, independents Tim McCormack, Ken Lanci, and Don Scipione on the November 2 ballot.  Except for Mr. McCormack, each candidate returned a response to the questionnaire.

The League then invited its members to interview the candidates.  On October 1, each of the candidates sat for an interview with our panel.  The interview began with an introduction from the candidate, and was followed by questions from the panel.  After the interviews, the panel met to discuss ratings and an endorsement.  They then cast their votes, conferred to review the results, and made a recommendation to the League’s Executive Committee.  The Executive Committee then voted.  A two-thirds vote is needed to reverse the Candidate Program Committee’s recommendation. A quorum of the Executive Committee concurred with the Committee’s ratings and recommendations.

Researchers and interviewers are members of The Citizens League.  They each sign a pledge indicating that they will participate in a non-partisan fashion.  Throughout the process, the League consulted with those who ran the program in the past to benefit from their collective wisdom and takes the steps necessary to ensure that the process maintained high standards of integrity and quality. 

The Citizens League utilizes an evaluation system that is based upon five stars, with the designation of a candidate that is “Preferred,” and, on rare occasions, a candidate that is rated “Should Not Be Elected.”  The “Preferred” rating is used for the best candidate in the race, whether or not that candidate is outstanding or simply better than the rest.  The use of these two designations matches that last used by The Citizens League.  Our committee elected to move from a four-star to a five-star rating system.  The stars represent the following evaluation:

*****  Superbly Qualified.  Superior candidate for the office, extremely well qualified with exceptional governmental leadership skills.

****    Very Well Qualified. Very well qualified for this office and would serve ably and provide solid government leadership.

***      Well Qualified. Well qualified for this office and would serve capably and provide good government leadership.

**        Adequately Qualified. Possesses sufficient qualifications for the office, would serve adequately.

*          Not Qualified. Marginal candidate lacking some of the qualifications for the office.