Southlake cancels May 11 election

Posted Wednesday, Mar. 20, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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SOUTHLAKE -- The City Council saved taxpayers about $15,000 and spared three people the cost of campaigning by canceling the May 11 election during Tuesday's regular council meeting.

An identical move by Colleyville council members is expected April 2 with the second reading of an ordinance that was introduced Tuesday at its first reading. Colleyville requires two readings before ordinances get final approval. This one will save the city $7,000 and give another three candidates seats on the City Council.

Candidates in both towns will take council seats without receiving a single vote.

Colleyville Mayor David Kelly said the effect is that the candidates are elected by community consensus, rather than by ballots.

"There were at least 30 days for people to apply for the positions," he said. "There was certainly enough opportunity for anyone to step forward and put their hat in the ring who wanted to."

In Southlake, Randy Williamson said that despite not having the opportunity to run for office in a traditional manner, he looks forward to earning fellow Southlake residents' approval during his first term.

"I can't control if others submit their names or the incumbent doesn't seek re-election," he said. "But I can control the kind of service I give to the citizens over the next three years."

Williamson will be sworn in to the Place 4 seat now held by Councilman Al Zito, who did not seek re-election.

Southlake council veteran Laura Hill will take over Place 5 from the outgoing Jeff Wang, who announced weeks ago that he would not run again.

"Randy and I won't get sworn in until May 14, and our first council meeting will be May 21," Hill said.

Hill, who served on the council from 2004 until 2011 when she reached her term limit, said she expected a race.

"I went out and met people and knocked on doors anticipating that I would have an opponent," she said.

Incumbent Southlake Councilman Brandon Bledsoe was unopposed for re-election to the Place 3 seat he won in 2009.

By canceling its election, Colleyville will save $7,000, return Kelly and Place 1 Councilwoman Carol Wollin to their offices, and bring aboard Chuck Mogged Jr. He will replace Place 2 Councilman Michael Muhm, who announced in January that he would not seek re-election.

Mogged isn't letting a canceled election keep him from pressing the flesh.

"I am actually still going door-to-door" to talk with residents, he said. "I want to hear their concerns and ideas for Colleyville's direction."

Wang said he is concerned for the health of his 80-plus-year-old mother and father, who live in Taiwan.

"I finally decided that I can always come back to serve my community as a volunteer, but my parents may not always be there waiting for me to serve them," he said.

Muhm said he believes that local government works best when a variety of people get involved.

"I don't think there are only seven people out of 24,000 [Colleyville residents] who can do that," he said. "I'll step back for a year or two, and wouldn't be surprised if, after a while, I step back into it."

The decision not to file for re-election came down to the wire, Zito said. In the end, he just let the deadline pass.

"I was doing a lot of soul searching," he said. "I talked with my wife and we made the decision based on priorities."

Zito said he enjoyed serving on the council. But the up to 30 hours per week it took from his family ultimately was more than he was willing to give.

Terry Evans, 817-390-7620

Twitter: @fwstevans

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