Few show interest in being mayor

September 26, 1994|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Staff Writer

Sykesville will be mayorless at the close of the Town Council session tonight, and few have expressed an interest in the job.

Mayor Kenneth W. Clark, elected in May 1993, announced two weeks ago that he is moving to take a job out of state.

"Nobody is jumping at the opportunity," Councilman Jonathan Herman said. "It is a lot of additional, sometimes thankless, work."

Most council members have said that job and family commitments preclude any larger commitment to the town.

"With my full-time job, my part-time job, my writing and work with Park and Recreation, I just couldn't do the mayor's job justice," Councilman William R. "Bill" Hall Jr. said.

"Whoever has the job should be able to devote the time required to do it. It's not just a title."

The Town Council has 60 days to appoint a successor, who must be approved by a majority of the six remaining council members. The appointee must be a registered voter and a town resident for at least a year, but does not have to come from the council.

Although Council President Eugene E. Johnson said that "a lot of people will be interested in the job," he does not count himself among them.

"I am comfortable doing what I am doing on the council," Mr. Johnson said. "I appreciate the people putting me there for a second term. I know the history of what comes before the council, but I don't have the time for the mayor's job."

Two weeks ago, Mr. Clark asked council members to "weigh the time and energy commitment" involved with being mayor. He said the position "will fill as many hours as you let it."

"It can be a tough time commitment for a working person," he added.

The new mayor would have to run for office in May 1995, and, if elected, would then serve the remaining two years of Mr. Clark's term.

Garth Adams, a councilman for 16 months, said he would be willing to serve as interim mayor, but would not run for the job in May.

"At this point, I am still learning the job," Mr. Adams said. "If someone more qualified steps forward, I would not stand in the way."

Councilwoman Julie Kaus, who also would decline taking the job, said that she favors a candidate who would continue the same successful management that the town has had during Mr. Clark's term.

"We have a really productive and cooperative council now," Ms. Kaus said.

The newest council member, E. Michael Kasnia, who was appointed last spring, said many qualified people -- from both the present and past councils -- could be mayor.

"We may have to do some arm-twisting to make the job appear easier," Mr. Kasnia said.

Mr. Kasnia said council members could offer to take on more duties and lighten the mayor's load.

"If I had more time, I would really enjoy the job," said Mr. Herman, a two-term councilman and chairman of the town Planning and Zoning Commission. "I have had good experiences with the town and the county. Being mayor would cut into time I just don't have."

No one wants to see the job, which pays $60 a meeting, vacant for 60 days.

Mr. Adams suggested advertising the opening and filling it within a month.

Mr. Herman said the council will use the meeting tonight as "an opportunity to talk about who we would like to see in the job."

"Most people have no idea what is involved. We have to see what is best for the town and how to make that happen," he said.

Mr. Clark said he regrets leaving but feels confident that he will have a competent successor. He said he would give the new mayor some training before he leaves for Terre Haute, Ind., where he will work for Reuben H. Donnelley, which produces telephone directories.

He offered the council some words of advice: "You face a number of challenges. What will happen in the five-year window, when all the developments are done? We can't continue to raise taxes, we have to think about income."

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