Which special-district governing board seats wind up on the ballots in November will depend on the number of residents applying for the open positions by Friday, Aug. 10. Less people applying for the number of positions available usually results in appointment rather than election. Photo by Darcy Ellis
Residents on the fence about pursuing their political aspirations or serving their communities on local governing boards have less than a week to make their bids for various open seats official.
The filing period for three seats on the Bishop City Council and 22 positions on the governing boards of 10 countywide special districts ends by the close of business next Friday, Aug. 10.
Several residents have already come forward to apply as candidates in many of the districts; however, as of yesterday, Aug. 3, only the Big Pine Unified School District had attracted more candidates than positions available – meaning a race for BPUSD Board of Trustees will be decided by election this coming November.
Also headed for the Nov. 6 General Election ballot are City Council incumbents Susan Cullen, Laura Smith and David Stottlemyre, along with challenger Keith Glidewell. Patricia Gardner has also taken out nomination papers to run for City Council, but as of Friday, had not filed her official Declaration of Candidacy.
The top three vote-getters in November will begin serving four-year terms in January – the same time Councilmember Jeff Griffiths takes up his new job as Inyo County District 2 Supervisor, an office he won during the June Primary.
Griffiths can continue serving on the council right up until he takes office at the county, which he previously indicated was his intention. Confirmation of his plans could not be obtained for this article as Griffiths is currently on vacation through the end of next week.
Most likely, according to Assistant City Clerk Denise Gillespie, Griffiths’ vacancy will be filled by appointment, with the rest of the council selecting an individual to serve out the remaining two years of his four-year term. The decision on how to handle the vacancy is up to the council, she said, and when it will make that decision is, ultimately, up to Griffiths.
The City Council isn’t the only elected office up for grabs in Bishop. City Treasurer, a post held by Bob Kimball since 2005, is also up for re-election. So far, only Kimball has filed a Declaration of Candidacy to run for the four-year term. Kimball, a former councilman, first took up the office in 2003 when he was appointed to fill out the remainder of Eugene Perkins’ term when Perkins retired. Kimball was subsequently elected in 2005 and 2009.
Providing a public service isn’t the only compensation those elected to city posts receive.
The office of City Treasurer, for example, comes with a $150 monthly salary, plus health insurance (medical, dental and vision).
City Council members receive $300 per month, plus travel expenses, in addition to health insurance (medical, dental and vision) – which they’re eligible to sign up for as soon as they take office. According to Gillespie, the elected official’s cost share depends on which health plan he or she signs up for: there is no cost share for a single beneficiary; council members who sign up for the family or the individual-plus-one-dependent plans pay $40 a month for their health benefits.
Members of the Inyo County Board of Supervisors, by comparison, receive monthly salaries of $4,148 ($49,776 a year), plus travel expenses and health insurance (medical, dental and vision). Board members signing up for the individual plans pay a monthly premium of $53.36; the premium for the individual-plus-one-dependent plan is $106.72 and the premium for family coverage is $138.73.
Two races on the Board of Supervisors, started in the June Primary, will be decided in November: runoff elections between District 4 incumbent Marty Fortney and challenger Mark Tillemans and District 5 newcomers Jim Gentry and Matt Kingsley.
The top vote-getter in each race will take their oaths of office at the first board meeting in January alongside Griffiths, starting four-year terms that expire in January of 2017.
The current four-year terms of District 1 Supervisor Linda Arcularius and District 3 Supervisor Rick Pucci do not expire until January 2015.
Set to join the supervisorial runoffs and City Council contests in the November election is a race brewing in the Big Pine school district for three seats on the Board of Trustees.
According to the County Clerk’s Office, as of Thursday, there were four residents vying for the three open positions: incumbents Carla Bacoch, Denelle Carrington and Sandra Lund and newcomer Robert C. Vance.
And unless additional residents step forward for other seats in other special districts by Aug. 10, no other elections look to be necessary.
Although three candidates did apply for the two available positions on the Bishop Unified School District Board of Trustees, the field has since shrunk to two with Keith Glidewell’s withdrawal from the race – ostensibly to run for City Council instead. As it stands now, incumbents Trina Orrill and Eric Richman are poised for re-appointment.
Following is a look at the other special district positions available throughout Inyo County and the residents who have applied for them, as of Aug. 3.
Northern Inyo Hospital Board of Directors
Zone I: Dr. John Ungersma (incumbent)
Zone II: no one
Zone IV: no one
Southern Inyo Hospital Board of Directors
Zone I: no one
Zone III: no one
Zone V: Steven Davis
Death Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees
Two seats: no one
Lone Pine Unified School District Board of Trustees
Two seats: Susan Kay Patton
Owens Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees
Two seats: Aldene Felton (incumbent) and April Zrelak
Round Valley Joint Elementary School District Board of Trustees
One seat: Stacy Sparrow
Trona Unified School Board of Trustees
Two seats: No one
Inyo-Mono Resource Conservation District Board
Two seats: No one
Anyone interested in applying for any of these positions has until next Friday, Aug. 10, to pick up, complete and return the necessary candidacy paperwork. This paperwork is available at the respective district offices, or in Independence at the County Clerk/Elections Office.
Information about the qualifications needed to serve in these positions (one must be a property owner in Inyo or Mono counties to serve on the IMRCD Board, for example) is available at the same locations. The County Clerk/Elections Office can reached by telephone at (760) 878-0224 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information about the Bishop City Council or City Treasurer election is available by calling City Hall at (760) 873-5863. Candidacy papers are also available at City Hall, 377 W. Line St., and must be returned by 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 10.