If he gets it, Baker seen likely to sign the Home Rule Petition

Gov. Baker suggested last Thursday that he would sign a home rule petition from the city of Boston meant to do away with a special election for mayor if Mayor Walsh resigns before March 5.

The city’s charter mandates a special election for mayor if the office is vacated more than 16 weeks from the date of the next general election, which this year is Nov. 2. Walsh has been nominated for US Secretary of Labor, but the timeline for his confirmation by the US Senate is uncertain, but likely by mid-February.

Some members of the city council and Secretary of State William Galvin support doing away with the special election, which would mean four elections over the next ten months. Others think changing the rules now might look like the council is trying to help certain candidates over others. A petition offered by Councillor Ricardo Arroyo on Jan. 8 is in committee awaiting a hearing.

“As a general rule, as two former select board members, we sign home rule petitions,” Baker said, referring to himself and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. But he didn’t offer an opinion on the Boston case. “I tend to try to stay in my own lane on this stuff,” he said.