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Election qualifying gets off to slow start

City Clerk Mike Jinks and Ward Three Alderman Mary Wilson have become the first official candidates of the upcoming city elections.

     Jinks qualified to seek another term as city clerk, filing as a Republican. Wilson qualified as a Democrat to pursue re-election to her post as Ward Three alderman.

     Party primaries are scheduled for May 7 with runoffs on May 21 if necessary.

     “I like helping people, the citizens,” Wilson said after filing her candidacy forms about 9 a.m. Wednesday.

     Jinks had left his paperwork at the clerk’s office Friday and was not present in the office Wednesday morning. Jinks initially won the city clerk post in a 2004 special election.

     Wilson has held the Ward Three post since she also won it in a 2004 special election. She subsequently has served two full terms, winning elections in 2005 and 2009.

     She’s the wife of District One Supervisor The Rev. Jerry Wilson. He held the Ward Three post before his wife until he was elected to the board of supervisors in 2004.

     Mary Wilson said she’s ready to begin stumping for office.

     “Going to have to campaign hard,” she said.

     The city doesn’t yet have a ward map cleared for use in the upcoming elections, but Mary Wilson said she’s confident she’ll remain a resident of Ward Three.

     Aldermen approved a redistricting plan earlier this year but the U.S. Department of Justice hasn’t yet offered preclearance of the plan.

     City attorney Joe Fernald expects a verdict from the department by Jan. 8. If the plan isn’t precleared and the Justice Department wants changes to the proposed ward lines, some potential candidates for aldermen could find themselves drawn into different wards depending on how the final lines fall.

     To qualify as a candidate for a ward seat, citizens must reside in the ward they’re running to represent.

     All candidates for city office must also be registered voters of the city.

     Besides the six aldermen posts and city clerk, the offices of mayor, alderman at large and police chief will be open for candidates.

     All city elected officials serve four-year terms.

     In the party primaries, voters will also cast ballots for the executive committees of the Brookhaven Republican and Democratic parties.

     Municipal executive committees of political parties must have as many members are there are elected offices in the city. Therefore, the executive committees of the Republican and Democratic parties in Brookhaven should have nine members each.

     The executive committees are tasked with running party primaries in the city.

     Candidates for party executive committees must meet the same filing deadlines as candidates for city office.