Wellsburg to drop primary election

WELLSBURG – City Council moved Wednesday to drop its primary election, and city officials discussed the lack of a candidate for one of two seats representing the city’s 4th Ward.

At a special meeting called to certify candidates who filed for this year’s election, a formality required by city ordinance, council moved to eliminate the primary election, which had been set for April.

The move was suggested by City Clerk Mary Blum, who noted no more than two candidates have filed for any office. It also is expected to save the city about $5,000.

A previous City Council dropped the primary election in 2011, citing the same reasons.

Council also approved Gaynel Gamble as Republican ballot commissioner and Misty Gaynel as Democrat ballot commissioner for the general election, which will be held on June 11. The two will assist Blum with early voting and various tasks on Election Day.

Blum said though the city election is nonpartisan, it’s required by city ordinance to employ an equal number of ballot commissioners and poll workers for the election.

She said it’s often difficult to find Republican poll workers to match the number of Democrats and anyone interested in serving as a poll worker should call her at (304) 670-5567.

Poll workers arrive at about 5 a.m. on Election Day, before polls open, and remain until they close at 7:30 p.m. Each is paid $100 and lunch is provided for them.

Following the meeting, city officials were asked about a 4th Ward seat for which no one has declared candidacy. Incumbent Jeff Tarr has chosen not to seek re-election.

Della Serevicz, the other 4th Ward Council member, won’t be up for re-election until 2015 because terms for the eight council members are staggered.

Mayor Sue Simonetti said a 4th Ward resident may file as an official write-in candidate for the seat by April 23. Blum noted as an official write-in candidate, that person’s name won’t appear on ballots but will be posted at polling places.

Simonetti said in the event no write-in candidates are announced, council will appoint an interested resident of the 4th Ward. In that case, that person will be put on ballots in the city’s next regular election, in 2015 and in the middle of his or her four-year term.

The offices of mayor, police chief, collector-treasurer and four council seats will be on the ballots in the general election, but only three offices are challenged.

Competing in the election are incumbent Stanley W. Kins and challenger Rudy Sovinski for police chief, challenger David Holden and incumbent Bruce Hunter for 1st Ward Council seat and incumbent Ron E. Michaux and challenger Brian Keith Tennant for 2nd Ward Council seat.