GF voters go to polls next Tuesday to choose mayor
GREEN FOREST -- Just a week remains until a special election for mayor.
Voters will choose between Charles Reece and Paul McCormick at the polls on Tuesday, Feb. 9. Early voting is currently under way at the courthouse in Berryville, and voters can cast their ballots at the office of the county clerk between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays. There is no early voting on Saturday for a special election or a school election. Early voting will continue on Monday, Feb. 8.
The mayor's office became vacant when Richard Deweese resigned in mid-October. Even though his term would have expired at the end of 2010, that left more than a year remaining on his term. State law requires a special election to fill a mayoral vacancy if more than a year remains on his term.
The candidates were scheduled to make statements and answer questions at two separate locations on Tuesday, Feb. 2. The Green Forest Public Library held a forum at 1 p.m., and the Green Forest Chamber of Commerce had a similar forum planned for 6:30 p.m. at the depot.
After the election, the results do not become official until the Carroll County Election Commission certifies the results, probably on Feb. 12.
The certification of the results could possibly be delayed as much as two weeks, but only if the outcome is so close that absentee ballots from overseas could change the outcome. Bethe Henley, election coordinator, said seven absentee ballots have been sent out, and of those, only three went overseas. Absentee ballots from the continental United States must be returned by the date of the election to count.
By next week, the city council should have a new member appointed. Alderman Janet Jones had intended to resign at the Jan. 11 meeting, but a crowd of about 30 to 35 people attended that meeting, and begged Jones to remain on the council. One member of the audience appealed, "We need you where you are."
Jones remained at the council table for the remainder of a six-hour meeting, but she formally submitted a letter of resignation the following day.
While Jones' status on the council was under discussion on Jan. 11, Alderman Mike Miller said a replacement for Jones had already been found. He and Alderman David Garrett had settled on Bill Johnson, but Johnson withdrew his name from consideration the next day. He told Carroll County News, "I'm not interested in the city council. Period."
When Miller proposed Johnson to fill Jones' chair, Alderman Willa Kerby indignantly asked if any other citizens would have an opportunity to express their interest in the position. She suggested that anyone interested in serving should leave a letter of interest at city hall before the Feb. 8 council meeting. The applicants will have to be registered to vote in Ward 2, on the city's south side.
In an interview on Sunday, Kerby said she did not expect the council to vote on a replacement for Jones at the agenda-setting meeting on Feb. 1.
Miller and Garrett have the opportunity to vote for someone who will give them a veto-proof three-to-one majority for the remainder of the year.