Council seats up for grabs

Election is April 5

On April 5, Craig residents will decide whether to retain or replace nearly 60 percent of the Craig City Council.

Four of the seven seats, including the mayor's, will go before city voters.

Mayor Dave DeRose, who has served for four years as mayor after 9 1/2 years as a councilor, cannot run again for mayor, though he has the option of serving again as a council member.

It's an option he's not planning to exercise.

"It's time for somebody else to take some of these positions," he said. "I've got a lot of other things I want to be doing."

Three councilors have made the decision to run again.

Don Jones, who is term-limited as a council member, plans to toss his name in for the position of mayor. Jones has served on the council for 9 1/2 years.

Councilor Bill Johnston has said he will run again, though his decision sent the city clerk to seek legal advice about whether he is eligible for another.

Johnston originally was appointed to his seat. He served half a term, then was elected to his seat. According to City Clerk Shirley Seeley, the city's Constitution is unclear as to whether he is affected by term limits.

"Because he hasn't run for two complete terms, my opinion would be that he can run again," she said. And she was right.

"We do need to afford him the right to two full terms," she said after consulting with an attorney.

Councilor Billy Bingham said he will not run again. He's accepted a job at Twentymile Coal Company, and the shift work doesn't make council service feasible.

Councilors Joe Herod, Tom Gilchrist and Kent Nielson will serve until 2007.

The election will be April 5, but there's a lot for both candidates and city staff members to do before then.

Voters already can apply for absentee ballots.

Candidates can pick up petitions Monday and begin circulating them Feb. 14.

Candidates must gather 25 signatures to have their names placed on the ballot. Petitions are due back to the city clerk by March 4.

Voters can register until March 7.

City Council candidates must be at least 25 years old and a resident of Craig for at least 30 days before the election.

Council members serve a term of four years.

The mayor serves for two.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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