Fort Smith director filing period soon to close

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 97 views 

With the filing deadline set for June 5 at 12 p.m., the City of Fort Smith Board of Directors could be in for a shakeup.

City Directors Steve Tyler and Don Hutchings have already announced they will not seek second four-year terms, so Wards 1 and 3 will definitely see new members.

If the filing deadline were today (May 31), Ward 1 candidates Ken Pevehouse, Liz Berry Armstrong, and Keith D. Lau, would have a mandatory primary Aug. 14, according to City Clerk Sherri Gard, pending submission of a statement of financial interest from Armstrong.

(Candidates have until June 11 to turn in statements of financial interest, while statements on campaign contributions are reported to the Sebastian County Clerk’s Office.)

“If anyone gets a clear majority at the primary, as in 51% or more of the vote, they are considered elected,” Gard said.

Mike Lorenz is the only verified candidate in the Ward 3 race, though Matthew Garner did submit an application package on Wednesday (May 30) and Alex Cardenas announced his candidacy on April 24. In addition to these two races, City Director George Catsavis would face candidate John Cooley for the Ward 4 seat.

Thus far, Ward 2 City Director Andre Good is the only unopposed candidate, who could win a new term — “could,” because he hasn’t filed with the City Clerk’s Office as of Wednesday. Good told The City Wire that he still intends to submit his application package before the filing deadline.

The City Clerk’s Office has only issued one application packet in Ward 2 (to Good), while it issued five packets each in Wards 1 and 3, and four packets in Ward 4.

Long story short: a lot could happen between now and next Tuesday. But for Gard and the rest of the City Clerk’s Office, a candidate “could submit at 11:59 a.m. June 5, and we’d still be able to get them verified.”

The verification process, according to Gard consists of her department “checking petitioners against registered voting records within Sebastian County.”

Gard continued: “If a candidate has 50 verified signatures from registered voters within the city — and they don’t have to be from the Wards they’re running in — then we will do a certification and submit that to the Sebastian County Board of Election Commissioners for final approval.”

The filing periods for Greenwood and Van Buren City Council candidates begin July 27 at 12 p.m. and close at noon on Aug. 17. The counties for both cities will oversee the verification process. Each candidate must present a petition signed by 30 or more registered voters within the city of their candidacy. Once elected, the council member must present a statement of financial interest to the City Clerk.

Candidate announcements have not been issued at this time.