When we published a brief interview with Ward 1 City Council hopeful Sarah Marsh earlier this week, we thought it might be a little early to be talking about city elections.
As it turns out, that story has had a lot of interest locally in the past few days. Maybe we didn’t jump the gun after all.
Although we still haven’t heard of anyone other than Marsh who is seeking one of the positions up for grabs in November, we did make a few phone calls last week to some of those who currently hold a position.
As stated Tuesday, Brenda Boudreaux told us 2012 would be her twelfth and final year to serve. Boudreaux currently holds the Ward 1, Position 2 seat that Marsh is seeking.
For those not familiar, each of the eight aldermen serve four-year terms and each ward has two representatives. Elections are held every two years, with each position alternating back and forth. Voters filled the Position 1 seats in 2010 which means the Position 2 seats are up for grabs this year.
Both Ward 2 Alderman Matthew Petty and Ward 4 Alderwoman Sarah Lewis told us last week they do plan to seek re-election for a second term. Ward 3 Alderman Bobby Ferrell has said he likely won’t run for a third term.
All votes aside, the Council may need to fill an empty seat at the end of the year. Ward 1, Position 1 Alderwoman Adella Gray announced her candidacy for an Arkansas House District 84 seat in October, just ten months into her second Council term.
According to state law, Gray would be required to resign from the council if she wins the House race. After that, the remaining council members can either elect a replacement themselves or call a special citywide election.
City Clerk Sondra Smith said she hadn’t heard exactly when the Washington County Clerk’s Office will open filing for the municipal election, but that it typically occurs in late July or early August.
Looking to run?
If you’re interested in one of the four seats, you’ll need to start by calling Sondra Smith at 479-575-8323. She’s the city clerk and she’ll give you the papers you need to fill out as well as some extra information. Her office is on the third floor of City Hall at 113 W. Mountain.
After you get your packet from her, there’s some paperwork to take care of. Here’s what the packet will contain:
- Nominating petition: You’ll need to gather no less than 30 signatures from local residents who support your nomination and who are registered voters in the State of Arkansas. Besides their signature, you’ll also need to list their printed name, date of birth, city of residence, and the date they signed the petition.
- Political practices pledge: This is like an application in that you list your name, address, and phone number. Then you have to sign it to certify that you’ve never been a convicted felon in the State of Arkansas or in any other jurisdiction outside of Arkansas.
- Affidavit of eligibility: This is a form you sign to make sure you live in the Ward you’re running for. Example: If you live on Dickson Street, you’re in Ward 2 and you can only run in Ward 2. Not sure which ward you live in? Head over to the city’s maps page where you’ll find a link to a wards map.
- Statement of financial interest: Since Fayetteville residents will be electing you to work for them, they might want to know where your money comes from. The public has a right to know who your employer is and who gives you large monetary gifts so they can decide whether or not they think money might have an influence on your council votes.
- Campaign contribution and expenditure reports: The public also has a right to know who donated money ($50 or more) to your campaign and who you spent money with ($100 or more) during the campaign process. If you raise more than $500 total, you have to report it before the election. If you raise less than $500, you have to report it afterwards. Either way, you have to tell the public who helped you get elected (if they gave you $50 or more).
If you’re interested in knowing what exactly you’d be required to do if elected, we put together a guide in 2010 that should help. It includes a lot of the above information, but also a few extras. Here’s a direct link to the end of that guide.
Council positions aren’t only seats being decided in November. The mayor and city clerk positions are both up for grabs this year and both Mayor Lioneld Jordan and City Clerk Sondra Smith have said they plan to seek re-election.