City qualifying begins; McKee stepping down

Published 6:00 am Monday, January 8, 2001

Most incumbents qualified last week for this year’s cityelections, but one elected official said he will not be among thoseseeking re-election.

“After 36 years, I’ve chosen to retire,” said Brookhaven PoliceChief Fred McKee Friday in an informal announcement of hisplans.

McKee has been police chief for almost 12 years. He said he willofficially step down June 30, when his third term ends.

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Wednesday was the first day for qualifying in this year’selections and most officials took the early opportunity to gettheir names on the ballots. The qualifying deadline is March 2,said City Clerk Iris Rudman, who has signed up to seek her fifthterm.

In all, 11 people have qualified to run, although all offices donot have candidates at this early point. Eleven city offices willbe chosen in this year’s elections.

“I think it was like this four years ago,” Rudman said aboutearly qualifying. “It’s about normal.”

The city election schedule calls for party primaries to be heldMay 1 and runoffs, where needed, will be May 15. The generalelection is June 5.

Some incumbents had indicated their plans earlier and lastweek’s qualifying made those official.

Incumbent Mayor W.W. “Bill” Godbold and incumbent Alderman atlarge Henry Newman have put their names on the ballot for thecity’s highest office. Both qualified in the Democraticprimary.

“I think I can do a good job and do some things to help thecity,” Newman said earlier when announcing plans for a mayoralrun.

Godbold will be going after his sixth term as mayor, althoughhis terms have not been consecutive.

“I’ve got some things working that I want to see through,” saidGodbold, who earlier served as mayor from 1965-1973 and from1985-1993.

Godbold and Newman were joined in the Democratic primary byRoger Ruffin Osborne, who was unavailable for comment. Qualifyingpapers do not ask for a telephone number and Osborne was not listedin the telephone book.

The only other known contested race so far will be in the Ward 6Alderman race.

Incumbent John E. “Buddy” Allen will seek his second full termagainst Leroy Hewitt. Both are signed up in the Democraticprimary.

In other city races, incumbent City Tax Collector Pat Duckworthhas qualified to seek her fourth term.

Several first-term aldermen have signed up to go after secondterms in office. They include Ward 1’s Dorsey Cameron, Ward 3’s theRev. Jerry L. Wilson and Ward 5’s Tom Smith.

Ward 4 Alderman John Roberts and Ward 2 Alderman Terry Bates,each in their third terms on the board, have not qualified. Batesearlier indicated he would seek another term while Roberts has notannounced his election plans.

Ward 4, though, already has a candidate in Boyce Bullock. He hasqualified for the alderman post in the Republican primary and isthe only GOP candidate in city races so far.

To run for a city-wide office, a person must be a registeredvoter of the city, Rudman said. For alderman posts, the person mustbe a registered voter of the ward he or she is seeking torepresent.

The qualifying fee is $10.

For independents, whose names will appear on the generalelection ballot, a person must obtain the signatures of 50registered voters. The signatures must be from residents of theirward if a person is seeking an alderman position.

“We’ve not had any independents declare yet,” Rudman said.