The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

 
 

By LEE REVIS
Editor, Valdez Star 

Mayor's seat has no official candidates as of Monday

Two potential runners have taken out nominating petitions as clock ticks

 

Valdez Sta file photo

Ruth Knight, right, a former council member, has taken out a petition to run for mayor according to Sheri Pierce, left, city clerk. Pierce is shown swearing Knight into office in 2013.

The deadline to run for city office is closing this coming Tuesday.

Two Potential candidates for mayor have taken out nominating petitions from the city clerk's office, but none have been returned as of Monday.

Valdez woman Ruth Knight, a former city council member, picked up a nominating petition to run for mayor Monday according the Sheri Pierce, city clerk.

She joins current council member Jim Shirrell as a potential candidate in the Valdez elections. Both have taken out nominating petitions to run for mayor, but neither candidate had returned the completed petition to Pierce's office before publication of the Valdez Star.

The current mayor of Valdez, Larry Weaver, has stated firmly that he will not seek re-election.

Shirrell has also taken out a petition to run for second term on city council, but said last week he was undecided on which office he would officially seek.

According to the city clerk's office, a potential candidate cannot appear on the ballot as a candidate for both mayor and city council at the same time. A candidate can run for mayor and school board at the same time, or school board and city council.

"The reason that you can run for both the council and school board, but not mayor and council is because you obviously could not hold the position of mayor and council member on the council," Pierce said in an email last week. "You could in fact serve on the school board and serve on the city council. Mayor and council are separate on the ballot and the requirements for petition signatures are different, but ultimately they are equal voting members on the city council."

A number of candidates have returned nominating petitions to the clerk's office to run for city council in the May 3 elections.

Current candidates who will appear on the ballot are: Former council member Dennis Fleming, David Jonas, Darren Reese, Chris Moulton (incumbent), Nate Smith.

Doug Davies has taken out a petition but not yet returned it.

On the school board side, incumbent Alan Sorum has returned a petition to the clerk's office to run for a one-year term that is open.

Incumbent Erica Shirk has a petition out, as does Joe Prax, also an incumbent. Newcomer Sonya Ash-Selanoff also has a petition out.

To run for city council or school board, a potential candidate must pick up a petition in person from the city clerk's office and return it with the signatures of 25 qualified Valdez voters. Candidates for mayor must have 50 signatures. The deadline to submit a complete petition is 5 p.m. March 15.

There will also be a number of propositions on the May ballot.

Source: City of Valdez

City instructions on how to file a petition to run for public office.

These include an advisory vote on whether or not city council members and the mayor should be paid a stipend for attending regular council meetings; a proposition that would increase the residential property tax exemption on a primary residence from $20,000 to $50,000, resulting in a lower property tax bill; a proposal to increase the terms of city council and mayors from its current two years to three years.

A fourth proposition could be on the horizon that would change the city charter to mesh with municipal code regarding the city manager's ability to sign contracts, which Pierce said are conflicting.

The current practice in city hall allows the city manager to sign contracts without council approval that cost less than $40,000. The city charter actually only allows the city manager to spend up to $40,000 without council approval.

"The code will need to be amended to make it more clear," Pierce said in an interview Monday.

A discussion item to include a proposition to the voters will be on the next city council agenda according to Pierce.

 

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