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

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

No candidates for city offices had completed petitions as of Tuesday morning

Deadline to run for mayor, city council and board of education is coming on March 15

 

Valdez Star file photo

Deputy city clerk Allie Ferko (left) and city clerk Sheri Pierce (right) during the city's 2016 election.

It's one week before the deadline to file a petition to run for city office in the upcoming municipal elections, and as of Tuesday morning, no hopefuls had returned completed paperwork to the city clerk's office.

"The deadline is next week," said Sheri Pierce, the city clerk whose office runs local elections. "We need people to run for office."

The municipal elections will take place May 1.

Only a handful of candidates have taken out petitions for any of the seats that are opening.

Candidates for city council, school board and mayor must collect and then

submit completed petitions to the city clerk's office in person to be have

their name certified and on the ballot for this year's election.

The nominating petitions must have the signatures of 25 qualified voters in

order for a candidate's name to be accepted for the ballot. Candidates

running for mayor must submit a petition with 50 signatures.

Two three-year terms are opening for the board of education. The seats are currently held by long-time board members Dr. Kathy Todd and Dolores Gard.

Todd has taken out a nominating petition but has not yet returned it to the clerk's office.

Council members Nate Smith, Chris Moulton and Dennis Fleming are currently serving terms that are expiring in 2018. All three are eligible to file for reelection; so far, only Moulton has taken out a nominating petition for a two-year term. The other two openings are for three-year terms.

Valdez man Bob Engebretson has taken out a petition to run for a three-year term on council and one for the mayor's seat, but had not returned either petition to the clerk's office by press time.

"He can only bring back one," Pierce said, noting that a person cannot run for both city council and mayor at the same time, though a sitting council person is permitted to run for mayor.

That is the case of current council members Jim Shirrell and Darren Reese. Both men have taken out nominating petitions to run for mayor, but neither has returned the paperwork needed to the clerk's office.

"Final date for filing a nominating petition will be March 15, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.," says the notice that has been published in the Valdez Star.

If not enough candidates come forward to fill the terms that are expiring, the state statute states that the person that holds the seat must serve "...until a successor qualifies" Pierce said, reading from the state's statutes.

Pierce said the city can choose to hold a special election within 90 days if not enough candidates qualify for the regular election, or a different or even the same member can be appointed to fill the vacancy if the official with an expired term resigns from the position.

"It's a can of worms," she said.

The requirements to become an elected official for city government are not stringent.

Valdez Star file photo

Elections for city offices will be held on May 1.

Candidates must be registered to vote within the Valdez city limits, and

have been a full-time resident for at least one year according to the clerk's

office.

For anyone who plans to vote in the upcoming city elections and is not yet registered to vote in Valdez, the clock is also ticking.

Voters must be registered with a Valdez address at least 30 days prior to the May 1 election date.

A person is qualified to register if they have lived in Valdez at least 30 prior to registering and are at least 18-years of age and not disqualified under the constitution.

 

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