Print Three may vie for mayor seat
Written by Mark Lineberger   
Sunday, 10 February 2008 12:07

It’s shaping up to be a race.

Potential candidates need to have their ducks in a row by Wednesday, Dec. 10, to meet a deadline to run for a seat on the Camp Verde Town Council in next spring’s elections. Nine people have shown interest for the five seats up for grabs.

It could be at least a three-way run for the mayor’s seat, which carries a two-year term.

While nothing is official until the paperwork gets to the county’s Elections Department, Mayor Tony Gioia has pulled the necessary packet to run for reelection. He could be joined by two others in that bid.

Tim Sykes, a library commissioner who once tried to apply for the seat left vacant by former Councilman Mike Parry and was disqualified because he didn’t live inside the political boundaries of Camp Verde, has also pulled the mayoral packet.

He was joined late last week by Bob Burnside, a plumber who ran an unsuccessful bid as a write-in candidate for the Camp Verde Sanitary District.

Three four-year seats on the council are up for election. The seats are currently held by Ron Smith, Bob Kovacovich and Vice-Mayor Brenda Hauser.

Kovacovich has signaled he plans to run to retain his seat. Also potentially running for a four-year seat are Robin Whatley, Samuel Plunkett, George McClure and Jackie Baker, a former councilwoman and vice-mayor.

Whatley and Baker had also applied to fill Parry’s empty seat now held by Councilman Charlie German.

The remaining two years of former Councilman Greg Elmer’s seat are also on the ballot following his resignation Nov. 30. Raymond Williams has pulled the paperwork to potentially run for that seat.

Whatley, who attends nearly every council meeting and once served as Gioia’s campaign manager, also serves on the Parks and Recreation Commission and a committee formed by the town to make recommendations about funding nonprofit organizations.

Whatley was the first person to pull a packet to run for the council and to gain the needed signatures from local registered voters.

Now she’s concerned that her bid may be challenged due to a technicality. When Elmer’s resignation opened up a two-year seat on the council, potential candidates had to indicate whether they were running to finish that term or for one of the four-year seats.

Whatley collected her signatures before Elmer announced his resignation and didn’t have to indicate which seat she was running for.

She checked with the town’s legal council who advised her she might want to redo her entire packet, signatures and all. By that time, Whatley said it was too late for her to go through everything again.

She hopes her run for office doesn’t stumble over a legal snag, and she has a solid argument, since people who signed her petition assumed she was running for a four-year seat, the only one available at the time.

Regardless of who has pulled a packet, the election slate will be finalized Dec.10 at 5 p.m., the deadline to file.