Archive for Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Council to have 3 vacancies

Election deadlines near

December 24, 2002

It will only be a matter of months before the Baldwin City Council will have three vacancies.

Council members Marilyn Pearse, Ted Brecheisen and Todd Cohen's terms all end this year. Regardless of whether the three council members decide to run for their seats again, the positions are now open to interested Baldwin residents.

But those wanting to fill their vacant, two- and four-year-term seats have only about a month to declare their intent with the county in order to be put on the election ballot in April.

Interested candidates have until noon on Jan. 21 to file a declaration of intention with the Douglas County election and voter registration office. The necessary forms can also be filed with Baldwin City Hall, but need to be done before Jan. 21.

Candidates need to either pay a $5 filing fee or have a signed petition in order to complete the process. The number of signatures required for the petition depends on the number that voted in the last election. The county election office can be contacted for forms and the number of signatures that are needed.

City Administrator Larry Paine said if anyone is interested in city politics, they should consider running for a seat on the council.

"Go for it," he said. "This country's based on the fact that people can run for office, that they can submit themselves to the community and say 'Would you like me to be your representative.'"

Paine said it was important to remember that city council involves more than just attending two meetings a month.

Once elected, council members will go through a training session to become better acquainted with the city.

"You've got to have a significant information and background to make informed decisions. Basically when you come in, you've got to get the tools to do the job," he said. "We've got a lot of things we're doing. There's a lot of things at stake."

Council members are also assigned to two smaller committees, like finance or public safety, one which they will chair and one in which they will be a member.

"That way two council members specialize in one area and the balance of the council doesn't have to spend as much time on an issue," he said.

There are also extra work sessions, special executive session meetings and committee of the whole meetings that council members must take part in.

But being a council member involves more than just meetings, Paine said.

"There is a demand on personal time from the community," he said. "If somebody doesn't like something, council members become a magnet for conversation.

"People will call you at your home. People will stop you on the street. If you work here in Baldwin, people will stop by your business."

He said even though the election is a few months away, those interested in a seat on the council need to start preparing now.

"Everyone who's interested should be attending city council meetings," he said. "If they're interested in running, they should be there."

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