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City election less than two weeks away

This time last year at The DAILY LEADER, we were busy preparingfor the upcoming election season. We weren’t the only ones.

Candidates were lining up for the first round of voting to electcounty and state officials to serve for the next four years.Offices from governor to county coroner were up for grabs.

We weren’t expecting a city election until next year, but twolong-time officials changed those plans. Mayor Bill Godboldresigned due to failing health, and City Clerk Iris Rudman tookadvantage of his decision to plan her own retirement, thus savingcitizens the expense and trouble of two elections.

Chances are that as you read this on Friday afternoon, thefields are now set in both races. The winners will serve only theremainder of the terms for the vacated offices. If they choose todo so, they can run for full four-year terms in 2005.

As I write on Thursday afternoon, the qualifying is still underway. So far, three are in the mayor’s race: Ward Four Alderman BobMassengill, former Ward Four Alderman John Roberts and politicalunknown Sam Dodds. Two are in the race for city clerk, Mike Jinks,a long-time bookkeeper in that office, and Mandy Sproles Dann, theaccounts payable/payroll manager for a private business inBrookhaven.

We have prepared a list of questions for candidates in bothraces and will publish their answers in the days leading up to theMay 18 vote. Here’s what we will be asking:

MAYOR’S RACE

* With rising insurance costs and the desire to give employeepay raises, personnel expenses continue to take a larger portion ofthe city’s budget each year. As mayor, what specific steps wouldyou take to control these costs?

* The city and county have voted to support development of a newindustrial park. What can you do as mayor to encourage newindustries and businesses to locate in the park once it isdeveloped?

* At city board meetings and during this campaign, severalprojects have been discussed, including annexation costs, themulti-modal transportation center, a public swimming pool and arecreation center. Of those mentioned — or others that you mayhave considered — what projects would you give top priority?

* This year’s board decision to privatize garbage collectionservices has received mixed reviews from citizens, and solid wasteissues continue to present difficulties for city officials. Wheredo you see city solid waste operations headed in the near future,and what do you think is the solution?

* What qualities or skills do you possess that should encouragevoters to select you instead of your opponent?

CITY CLERK’S RACE

* What do you see as the main role of the city clerk’s office inthe operation of Brookhaven’s government?

* Explain what you would do to ensure the city clerk’s office isoperated in the most effective and most efficient manner.

* What qualifications do you have that should make voters chooseyou over your opponent?

The questions will be sent — via certified mail with a returnreceipt — to all the candidates in both races. There responseswill be published free of charge if they choose to participate, andwe certainly hope they do.

If you live in the city and are of voting age, we hope you willparticipate in the election, too. Plan now to cast your ballot.

Write to Nanette Laster at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, Miss.39602, or send e-mail to news@dailyleader.com.