Many races for city councils, some school boards, have little opposition
By: Darrell Todd Maurina
PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. (Jan. 18, 2010) — With only one day left to file, numerous municipal and school board seats appear to be going without significant challenges in the April election.
Candidates for school boards, city councils, fire districts, water districts, ambulance districts and the county health board have only until the close of business on Jan. 19 to file their candidacy papers for the April 6 election. Voters have until March 10 to register for the April 6 election.
In most cases, that means candidates should file at their city hall, school district offices, or other administrative building; the only candidates who should turn in papers at the Pulaski County Courthouse are those running for the Pulaski County Health Board.
It’s become common practice for some candidates to turn in their candidacy papers shortly before the deadline, but since not all offices close at the same time, those who intend to file late in the afternoon on Tuesday should verify the last time their governmental agency will accept filings.
Most school board races are for three-year terms and most city council races are for two-year terms. The exceptions are in Waynesville, where Councilman Perry Miller was appointed to fill the balance of a two-year term in Ward II and is seeking election to the second year of his term, and in Laquey, where an open one-year school board position is available because Wendy Wood resigned from the board. Both communities also have regular two-year city council and three-year school board seats available.
So far, the only contested city races are in St. Robert, where incumbent Ward I Alderman Ralph Cook faces a challenge from Charles Slider. Ralph Cook and his wife Theresa Cook serve together on the city council from the same ward; Slider ran against Cook’s wife last year and was only narrowly defeated. Incumbent Municipal Judge Thomas Julian faces two challengers, Gerald Marker and Kenneth Hawley, both of whom ran against Julian the last time he filed for office.
The other three St. Robert aldermen, Ed Spotts in Ward II, Todd Williams in Ward III, and Bill Urena in Ward IV, have all filed for re-election but face no opposition yet.
The race in Dixon could be quiet. Ward I Alderman Steve Martin, Ward II Alderman Lynn Whitten and Ward III Alderman William Carter have all filed for re-election and none face any challengers.
The cities of Richland, Crocker and Waynesville face a different problem: not enough candidates have filed for office to fill the vacancies.
In Richland, none of the three incumbents, Ward I Alderman Chris Lane, Ward II Alderman Gary Brown, and Ward III Alderman Nathan Sheridan, have filed for re-election. Only one challenger, Ward III resident Ronny Leonard, has turned in candidacy papers.
In Crocker, Ward II Alderman Charles Stroburg turned in his candidacy papers but Ward I Alderman Jeff Curry has not yet done so. No other candidates have yet filed for the Crocker City Council.
In Waynesville, all three candidates who are running for a full two-year term, Ward I Councilman Twyla Cordry, Ward II Councilman Tim Mann, Ward III Councilman Ed Conley, and Ward IV Councilman Butch O’Riley, have filed for re-election. However, Ward II Councilman Perry Roberts, who was appointed to fill a vacancy and who must seek voter approval if he wishes to finish the remaining year of his term, has not yet turned in his candidacy papers.
While state law requires cities to hold elections regardless of how many candidates file, that’s not necessarily the case with school boards, ambulance districts, fire districts, water districts, and other special districts. If the same number of people file as are to be elected, the agency can avoid the expense of an election.
That could happen with the Swedeborg R-III School Board, where long-term incumbent Greg Black and newly appointed board member Judy Moss both turned in their candidacy papers on Monday. Alexis Roam, a former board member, has resigned and Moss was appointed at Monday night’s school board meeting to take her place. If no other candidates file, the Swedeborg school won’t have to hold a board election, though the district does plan to place a bond issue on the ballot asking voters to approve a tax increase to keep the district from being forced to merge with Richland or another larger district.
As of Monday, all other school districts have more people filing than the number to be elected.
In the Waynesville R-VI School District, incumbent board member Lori Laughlin of Waynesville joins challengers Nathan Purdome of Waynesville and Marcus L. Davis of St. Robert in running for the board’s two seats. As of Monday, incumbent Janice Dye had not yet turned in her candidacy papers.
The Crocker R-II School District faces a three-way race between incumbents Kris York and Don Mayhew and challenger Mark Sasfy, who are vying for two available seats.
The Dixon R-I School District has the largest number of candidates to file so far for any board. Incumbent Donny Miller hasn’t yet filed for re-election, but fellow incumbent Tina Vrba faces four challengers, Tommy Nichols, Steve Roberson, Robby Yoakum and Patrick Duncan, for two three-year terms.
The Laquey R-V School District had only one candidate, challenger and former board member Mary Ann Miller, file until last week Friday when incumbent Danny Click turned in his candidacy papers. On Monday, two more challengers, Frank Norris and David Brothers, turned in their papers, but incumbent Phil Todd has not yet filed. Laquey is unusual in that it has three seats up for election; two are for full three-year terms and one is for a one-year unexpired term to fill the position previously held by Wendy Wood, who resigned from the board.
In the Plato R-V School District, incumbent DeWayne Baker faces a challenge from former board member Pete Scurlock and from Brandi Niebruegge-Carter. Current board member Patti Niebruegge has not yet filed.
In the Richland R-IV School District, incumbent Tom Murray faces challengers Eric Graves and Kathleen Henson. Incumbent Rob Black has not yet filed.
So far, it appears that the county’s two ambulance districts, the Pulaski County Ambulance District and Dixon Ambulance District, won’t have to hold an election.
Each ambulance district is divided into subdistricts whose residents elect one member to represent them. Big Piney Subdistrict I Trustee Mark Shelden and Laquey Subdistrict IV Trustee Darold Wieners both filed for re-election to the Pulaski County Ambulance District; Subdistrict II Trustee Larry Helms and Subdistrict V Trustee Roger Graves both filed for re-election to the Dixon Ambulance District.
The Pulaski County Health Board has three seats available this year. Incumbents Paul Beydler and Alice Roam have not yet filed for re-election, but Dixon resident Phyllis Graves has filed for re-election and two challengers, Larry W. Albertson of Dixon and Marie N. Arnold of Richland have both filed as well.
A complete list of incumbents and declared candidates for school and city elections follows. Unless otherwise specified, school board races are for three-year terms and city council races are for two-year terms.
City Councils(All two-year seats unless otherwise specified)St. Robert City CouncilWard I:
Alderman Ralph Cook (incumbent, filed 12/15)
Charles Slider (challenger, filed 12/21)
Ward II: Alderman Ed Spotts (filed 12/22)
Ward III: Alderman Todd Williams (filed 12/15)
Ward IV: Alderman Bill Urena (filed 1/5)
Thomas Julian (incumbent) filed 12/16
Gerald Marker (challenger) filed 12/17
Kenneth Hawley (challenger) filed 1/13
Waynesville City CouncilWard I: Councilwoman Twyla Cordry (filed 1/13)
Ward II (full term): Councilman Tim Mann (filed 1/15)
Ward II (one year): Councilman Perry Roberts (not yet filed)
Ward III: Councilman Ed Conley (filed 12/15)
Ward IV: Councilman Butch O’Riley (filed 12/29)
Crocker City CouncilWard I: Alderman Jeff Curry (not yet filed)
Ward II: Alderman Charles Stroburg (filed 1/9)
Richland City CouncilWard I: Alderman Chris Lane (not yet filed)
Ward II: Alderman Gary Brown (not yet filed)
Alderman Nathan Sheridan (incumbent, not yet filed)
Ronny Leonard (challenger, filed 1/15)
Dixon City CouncilWard I: Alderman Steve Martin (filed 1/15)
Ward II: Alderman Lynn Whitten (filed 12/29)
Ward III: Alderman William Carter (filed 1/15)
School Boards(All three year seats unless otherwise specified)Crocker R-II School DistrictIncumbents: Don Mayhew, Kris York
Kris York filed 12/15
Mark Sasfy (challenger) filed 12/15
Don Mayhew filed 12/17
Dixon R-I School DistrictIncumbents: Tina Vrba, Donny Miller (not yet filed)
Tina Vrba (incumbent) filed 12/15
Tommy Nichols (challenger) filed 12/15
Steve Roberson (challenger) filed 12/17
Robby Yoakum (challenger) filed 1/4
Patrick Duncan (challenger) filed 1/12
Laquey R-V School DistrictIncumbents (three-year term): Phil Todd (not yet filed), Danny Click
Vacant one-year term: (Wendy Wood resigned)
Mary Ann Miller (challenger) filed 12/15
Danny Click (incumbent) filed 1/15
Frank Norris (challenger) filed 1/18
David Brothers (challenger) filed 1/18
Plato R-V School DistrictIncumbents: DeWayne Baker, Patti Niebruegge (not yet filed)
DeWayne Baker (incumbent) filed 1/5
Pete Scurlock (challenger) filed 1/18
Brandi Niebruegge-Couch (challenger) filed 1/18
Richland R-IV School DistrictIncumbents: Tom Murray, Rob Black (not yet filed)
Eric Graves (challenger): filed 1/5
Tom Murray (incumbent): filed 1/12
Kathleen Henson (challenger): filed 1/15
Swedeborg R-III School DistrictIncumbents: Greg Black, Alexis Roam (resigned from board)
Greg Black (filed 1/18)
Judy Moss (filed 1/18)
Waynesville R-VI School DistrictIncumbents: Lori Laughlin, Janice Dye (not yet filed)
Lori Laughlin (incumbent) filed 12/15
Nathan Purdome (challenger) filed 12/15
Marcus L. Davis (challenger) filed 1/11
Other DistrictsPulaski County Health BoardIncumbents: Paul Beydler (not yet filed), Phyllis Graves, Alice Roam (not yet filed)
Larry W. Albertson, Dixon (challenger, filed 12/23)
Phyllis Graves, Dixon (incumbent, filed 1/11)
Marie N. Arnold, Richland (challenger, filed 1/15)
Pulaski County Ambulance DistrictBig Piney Subdistrict I: Trustee Mark Shelden (filed 12/31)
Laquey Subdistrict IV: Trustee Darold Wieners (filed 12/31)
Dixon Ambulance DistrictSubdistrict II: Trustee Larry Helms (filed 12/15)
Subdistrict V: Trustee Roger Graves (filed 12/23)
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