Resident believes more should run for office

To the Editor,

I think more citizens would be interested in elected office if they knew more details.

In November we will be electing a mayor plus three commissioners. Commissioner Yokeley is running for mayor. Commissioners Brown, Armbrister, and Brinkley’s terms are up and all say they will run for re-election. Filing periods for any who want to be candidates started on 7/6 and end 7/17, so it is almost half over. One challenger has filed thus far. Only one of our current board members had a challenge last election.

Yokeley’s actual term as a city commissioner has two more years to go, but he is running this year for mayor since our previous mayor resigned mid-term. Yokeley has not resigned his commissioner seat and gets to hold on to it if he does not win as mayor. If he wins he will resign as commissioner and the board will appoint someone to fill that commissioner seat for the remaining two years. That would happen after the election and would not involve voters. Armbrister was appointed this way last year for the remaining term of a deceased commissioner, so this will be his first election.

Our city board has five commissioners plus the mayor. Mayor only votes to break a tie.

All the job takes is good common sense.

You must be a city citizen. To run for Brinkley’s seat you must live in South Ward. For Brown’s seat you must live in North Ward. For mayor or for Armbrister’s seat you can live in either ward. All city voters can vote for any candidates for each office regardless of wards.

It need not take up excessive time. Commissioners decide themselves when to attend ribbon cuttings, civic meetings, etc. Actual city board meetings are the first and third Thursdays each month. Meetings close to holidays are usually cancelled, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and last week for the 4th (of July). Three of our commissioners also hold regular jobs so that’s no problem.

A couple of short orientation classes are offered new commissioners. Times and convenient locations can be chosen during the year following election.

A few days before each meeting, information packets covering everything to be in the meeting are personally delivered to each commissioner.

Running for office need not be expensive. Each candidate thus far said they plan to spend less than $1,000. Friends and supporters usually volunteer to contribute. Newspaper and radio provide free publicity and there will be free public forums where candidates can speak and meet people.

All it takes is to go to the Board of Elections in Dobson and spend about 15 minutes filling out some forms, plus paying a $10 filing fee.

I don’t suggest candidates run for these offices for the money. No one will get rich but there is some compensation for one’s time.

Commissioners are eligible for the city medical, dental, vision insurance plans, plus group life insurance. Commissioners are reimbursed for travel and any other expenses they may have. Base salary for commissioners: $10,380. The mayor includes all that plus salary of $14,640.

John Pritchard

Mt Airy

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