The dust hasn’t settled from Tuesday’s General Election but candidate filings to run for mayor and city council are just around the corner — meaning more candidates to consider in the days ahead. The message from City Clerk Kim Althoff is that nominating petitions for Decatur Mayor and City Council may be filed in the office of the City Clerk, located on the 3rd floor of the Decatur Civic Center, 1 Gary K. Ander-son Plaza, beginning at 8:00 a.m., Monday, Nov. 19, 2018 through 5:00 p.m., Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. By the way, Thanks-giving is the Thursday in that week, so those filing need to plan around that day, because the offices will be closed. Filling starts less than two weeks from the date of this edition, so it will be here before we know it. So, take a deep breath, relax a little and get ready for the upcoming campaigns for mayor, city council and several other local boards that have seats that are expiring in 2019.
• CITY COUNCIL — Shelith Hansbro is the latest candidate (as we go to press) to announce a run for one of three seats that are up for election on the city council. Hansbro is the fifth to announce for a city council seat in the April, 2019 election. The other candidates who have announced are Marty Watkins, Rodney Walker, Shavon Francis and incumbent Councilwoman Lisa Gregory. Dr. Dana Ray, who has served on the council for ten years, made it known early that she will not be running for re-election, but was at Hansbro’s announcement news conference to let everyone know of her support for Hansbro. That’s a big endorsement for Hansbro as Ray has been an outstanding member of the council and that endorsement will have some impact.
• BILL FABER, the other councilman whose seat is up for election in April indicated he would announce whether he will run for re-election following the General Election on Tuesday. The election is now history so Faber should announce soon, if he hasn’t already by the time you read this column. There would have to be 13 candidates for the three city council seats up for election in April for there to be a primary election in February, essentially to reduce the number to twelve. That’s not likely to happen although I know that several petitions were picked up at the city clerk’s office by those considering making a run for either city council or the mayor’s position. Usually, more petitions are picked up than are used as part of the process to get on the ballot. Sometimes, people pick up the petitions for someone else, or wait and see what kind of support they will have, or how many other candidates are running, and decide not to run. Also, we’ve had some candidates in the past who were not eligible to have their names on the ballot because of not having enough valid signatures on their petitions or not completing all of the paperwork to put them on the ballot.
• WHILE IT IS unlikely there will be a primary election to narrow down the city council candidates’ field, it could happen in the mayor’s race where Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe is facing opposition in her attempt to be re-elected — this time to a full four-year term. If there are five candidates for the mayor’s office, there will be a February Primary Election. In addition to Mayor Moore Wolfe, businesswoman Kara Demirjian Huss and Jacob Jenkins are running for mayor. There is a fourth candidate who will announce soon and possibly a fifth who may step up to the plate which will make a Mayoral Primary Election necessary. That’s the most for the mayor’s position since I ran for my first term in 2003 when there were four candidates. Back then, if there were more than two candidates, there had to be a primary election. The number of candidates needed for a primary has been doubled since then in order to save money. Back then, a primary election to eliminate one candidate from the race cost tens of thousands of dollars and, as I remember in one election, the candidate who was eliminated wasn’t even serious about running. I think his motive was to cost the taxpayers extra money. If there are five candidates for mayor, the primary election would be to eliminate three of the five. leaving two on the ballot. That would be expensive — just like the “old days”of holding a primary election to eliminate one candidate. One way, or the other, it’s fairly certain there will be four candidates for mayor this time around.
• WHILE I’m on the mayor’s race, Kara Demirjian Huss has already announced a fundraiser at Bizou, 259 North Main Street, in Decatur, on Monday, Dec. 3, from 4:30 until 7:00 p.m. Hosts are listed as Faiq Mihlar, Dr. Bret Jerger, Dr. Chad Burmeister, Dr. Mark Muscato, Tonya Kowa-Morelli, Misty Lee, Darren Reynolds and Bob Brady.
• AS WE now know, Interim City Manager Billy Tyus is not an applicant for the city manager’s position on a permanent basis. I’ve known Billy Tyus for years and worked with him during the years I was in office. Anyone who knows him, knows that he is a super good guy and one of the nicest people you could ever meet. Tyus had some strong support in the community, but he felt it wasn’t the right time to move up for his family. That decision, and the reason for it, underscores the type of person he is in making his decisions. He put his family first.
• IT’S PROBABLY about time the public gets an update on the status of the search for a new city manager. More and more, people are asking how that is progressing. With several new faces in the candidate pool of potential city council members and the mayor’s challenge, it is a somewhat awkward time for selecting a new city manager — since he, or she, will not know for sure what members will be his or her boss. That will be, or should be, a consideration for any solid potential city manager. Hopefully, we will soon learn more about the status of the process and when we can expect it to be completed. It’s something the public needs to know.