Borough, cities seek candidates

Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2008

If you have a bone to pick with your local government and want to do more than just beef, here's your chance.

The municipal election filing period for borough and city public offices opens Friday at 8 a.m. Candidates will have until 4:30 p.m. Aug. 15 to submit their names and be placed on the Oct. 7 municipal election ballot.

Here's a look at open borough seats.

Incumbent Mayor John Williams, first elected in 2005, said he intends to run again and will file for re-election.

Soldotna Mayor Dave Carey announced earlier this year he would file and challenge Williams for the borough's top job.

Three Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly seats are open this year.

Margaret Gilman currently occupies Seat 2, Kenai, while Seat 5, Sterling-Funny River, is held by Assembly President Grace Merkes, of Sterling. Bill Smith, of Homer, holds Seat 8, the Homer seat.

Three seats are open on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Board of Education.

Debra Mullins, of Kenai, holds Seat 3, Nikiski. Nels Anderson, of Soldotna, holds Seat 4, Soldotna. Debbie Brown, of Kasilof, occupies Seat 7, the Central District.

An unanswered question is the status of incumbents in those offices who already have served two terms. A Kenai Superior Court judge has yet to rule on a lawsuit brought late last year by the Alliance of Concerned Taxpayers against the assembly and school board after members of those bodies voted to seat municipal election winners, despite the success of term-limit initiatives that said no official could serve more than two consecutive terms.

But while voters approved the ballot measures boroughwide, district voters also re-elected the incumbents, raising issues about which votes should take precedence. Another complicating factor: candidates were legally eligible to run for re-election when they filed for office the previous August.

According to Borough Attorney Colette Thompson, the borough holds the position that incumbents who have served more than two terms remains eligible to file and run for office again, no matter how long they been in office, unless and until the court rules otherwise. The borough is hoping for a ruling prior to the Aug. 1 opening to the 15-day filing period.

On the assembly, only Merkes is subject to the disputed ballot measure's proscriptions. She said Tuesday she has not yet decided whether she would file again, and likely won't until around Aug. 15.

Though only in her first term, Gilman announced at the July 6 assembly meeting that she had taken a teaching job and would not seek re-election.

Smith, of Homer, is in his first term and not subject to the term-limit law. He said he intends to file for re-election.

As far as the three incumbent school board members are concerned, Mullins said she had no plans to file again, Brown said she would definitely not be running again, and Anderson is a candidate for the Alaska Senate and not seeking another term on the school board.

Several positions are up for grabs on the various service area board, including:

* Anchor Point Fire Service Area Board: Seats A and E.

* Bear Creek Fire Service Area Board: Seats A and E.

* Central Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area Board: Seats A, B, and C.

* Joint Ops Board of Central Peninsula Emergency Medical Service Area & Central Emergency Service Area: Seat E.

* Kachemak Emergency Service Area Board, Seats A, B, C and E.

* Nikiski Fire Service Area Board: Seats D and E.

* North Peninsula Recreation Service Area Board: Seat E

* Seward-Bear Creek Flood Service Area Board: Seats A and D.

* South Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area Board: All nine seats including Seats A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H and I.

Candidacy forms are available through the borough.

The municipal election is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 7.

Hal Spence can be reached at

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