Archive for Thursday, April 21, 2005

Two write-ins chosen for Linwood council

April 21, 2005

The dust settled Monday on the recent Linwood city election, as the last of the new elected officers was selected for the small municipality at the southern most point of Leavenworth County.

On Monday, Leavenworth County officials randomly selected Linwood resident Edward Morris -- a former city council member -- as the third new member of the governing body. Morris will join Linwood resident Tony Denham as new additions to the council; Charles "Dwayne" Call, an incumbent, ran unopposed in the April general election and keeps his seat.

It was a long, strange process that landed Morris and Denham in public office.

Call was the only candidate who filed to fill one of three vacancies on the council. Denham was elected with three write-in votes, which was a windfall compared to Morris' total.

Morris, and four other Linwood residents, received one write-in vote each. Leavenworth County officials contacted the five write-in candidates, and four said they would be interested in the position, County Clerk Linda Scheer said.

Morris' name was drawn at random from the four interested candidates Monday by the Leavenworth County Commission.

Morris and Denham replace outgoing council members Georgianna Smith, who lost a mayoral bid, and Delores Leonard. They will be installed during a meeting Tuesday, May 3.

The council position isn't the only office settled. Leavenworth County officials said Monday that no one had met the Friday deadline for contesting any of the election outcomes, which means Linwood tavern owner Steve Campbell will become the city's next mayor.

Campbell, a write-in candidate, narrowly defeated Smith, 34 to 32, in the general election. He is the owner of Fro's Hideout, a local watering hole, and he is a 1994 graduate of Basehor-Linwood High School.

Shortly after the general election, a Linwood resident raised a question as to whether Campbell was eligible to become mayor. The resident believed mayoral candidates must have lived in the city for at least one year.

County officials searched state statutes looking for any provision that would disqualify Campbell, but could find none.

Scheer cited a Kansas statute that covers election, appointment and removal of officers in third class cities. According to the statute, "the officers elected or appointed under this act shall be qualified electors of said city."

Campbell met those guidelines, the county clerk said. He will replace outgoing Linwood mayor Keith Schelert.

Campbell said one of his first acts of mayor will be to familiarize himself with local government.

"I would like to learn more about the processes of city government and make these processes accessible and understandable to the citizens," the mayor elect said. "Then I would like to encourage everyone with a question or problem to come to the meetings on the first and third Tuesdays of the month and to have people feel comfortable approaching the mayor or city council members."

Campbell said the most important priorities for Linwood are increasing tax revenue through business development and home ownership.

"I decided it was in the town's interest to have a mayor that would work on keeping local businesses and encouraging businesses to come to Linwood," he said.

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