Two out, four undecided about running for council

Wednesday, June 9, 2004

With Eureka Springs Alderman Bill Ott announcing he would not be a candidate for re-election this fall, the possibilities of who else might be running or not running are up for discussion.

Filing for city council candidates actually opens Thursday, July 15, and closes at noon Wednesday, Aug. 4, according to Carroll County Clerk Shirley Doss.

Candidates must pick up petitions from Doss' office in Berryville. There must be at least 30 signatures of registered Eureka Springs voters on the petitions when they are returned to her office.

Voting on the council members will be part of the general election Nov. 2.

All six council posts will be on the ballot.

The mayor, city clerk-treasurer and city attorney serve four year terms and are not up for election for another two years.

Ott, representing, Ward 2 Position 1, said his reasons for not running again are "private and personal and I want to keep them that way. I want to be a good employee and to have time to participate in some of the fun things Eureka has to offer."

In a telephone poll Friday, Earl "Bud" Umland's answer to the question of "Are you going to run for re-election?" was "No. Absolutely not."

He has been saying that for sometime. He represents Ward 3, Position 1.

The other four council members are still wavering on their decisions.

"I don't know," said Penny Carroll.

She was appointed to the Council in December of 2002 to replace Kelly Simon in Ward 1, Position 2. He did not run for re-election and no one ran to replace him.

Robert "Butch" Berry, another appointee, filled David Wilson's spot in May of last year after Wilson resigned from Ward 2, Position 2.

"I am still undecided," he said Monday morning. "I am looking at the pros and cons, time and my business. I still have to do some praying about it."

Gayle Money was originally appointed to the council in February of 2002 to replace David Stoppel in Ward 3, Position 1. Stoppel resigned from the council when he was named fire chief/chief of emergency services. She ran unopposed for election in the fall.

"I can't decide," she said. "I love being on the council. I am having a hard time deciding what to do."

Karen Lindblad also ran unopposed for her council seat in Ward 1, Position 1.

"I haven't made up my mind yet," she said. "I am going back and forth about it."

The election for the current city council was one of the most unusual in local history.

Only two of the seats, Ward 2 Position 1 and Ward 3 Position 1, held by Ott and Umland, had enough candidates for a race in the election. Three of the seats had only one candidate and Carroll was appointed.

The city clerk-treasurer and city attorney's posts, both part-time at the election, were filled by single candidates -- Mary Jean Sell and Tim Weaver, respectively. It took nearly a year of debate, but the attorney's job has been made full-time.

The city council meets regularly on the second and fourth Mondays of each month. Recent meetings have been between four and five hours long.

Council members are currently paid $2,000 a year. Discussion of raising that amount is slated for the June 14 agenda.

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