By Lyra Bordelon
The candidate slate is set for the upcoming Rainelle elections for mayor, recorder, and councilmembers. Currently, not enough people are on the ballot to fill the five-member Town Council with only three candidates running. Acting Mayor Bill Bell encouraged anyone looking to make the town a better place to sign up to run as a write-in.
According to Bell, the race will be between:
Mayoral candidates John Wyatt, Robin Williams, and Mike Rogers;
Recorder candidates Bill Bell and Brian Day;
And Council candidates Ron Fleshman, Dave Spitzer and James Matheney.
This slate comes with a problem however – all five seats of the Town Council are up for election, while only three candidates have signed up to run. This potentially means that two of the council’s five seats will be empty after the election.
According to West Virginia State Code 8-5-9, “All municipal officers, whether elected at the first election of officers or at regular municipal elections, or appointed, shall hold their offices until their successors are elected or appointed and qualified according to law, unless sooner removed from office according to law.” This means that current councilmembers not signed up to run again would likely remain on council unless write-in candidates run or council appoints new members. Of note in this situation is mayoral candidate, and current Councilmember John Wyatt.
Despite this issue, anyone in the community looking to run for council can still sign up to run as a write-in candidate. Now-former mayor Jason Smith and Bell won the city’s most recent election as write-in candidates, as mayor and recorder respectively.
“We did this in the last election,” Bell recalled. “We went to city hall and had to sign up for a place on the write-in on the ballot. Then you have to campaign as a write-in – if someone wants you, they have to write your name.”
If the seats are not filled, council could appoint members to fill the seats of the leaving councilmembers. Bell hoped to see more potential councilmembers in City Hall signing up soon.
“I found it a little frustrating,” Bell said. “I invited and encouraged people to sign up and it seems as though … everybody wants to fuss but nobody wants to do. I would just want people to come sign up. I wish they would. … The way I was thinking, you would still have a quorum. … My take away from it was if they don’t have enough ambition to sign up and run, who would the town council reach out to appoint?”