Challengers yet to come forward for Sykesville election

4 incumbents unopposed

they stress continuity

April 11, 1999|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

So far, there are no contests in the Sykesville municipal election on May 4. All four incumbents are running and no challengers have emerged.

It all could change tomorrow at the Town Council meeting when anyone can nominate a candidate.

"There should be turnover on a council, but for this time, consistency is important," said Michael H. Burgoyne, 41, who will seek his second term. "We have a lot of projects to finish."

Burgoyne, a self-employed lawyer and the father of three children, views another term as an opportunity to complete work started on downtown revitalization and the recently annexed 138 acres along Route 32 that the town hopes to develop. He chairs the budget committee, and the council considers him the expert on fiscal matters.

"Mike is probably the most effective person on the council," said Mayor Jonathan S. Herman.

Michael Kasnia, 52, who is seeking a second term on the six-member panel, called himself the most fiscally conservative member.

"I always look for better management and better ways to spend town money," he said.

The council faces several complex issues that would be difficult for a newcomer to grasp quickly, he said.

"Whether it's swimming pools or rezoning, consistency is important," Kasnia said.

Jeannie Nichols, a 41-year-old mother of four, was appointed to the council last year to replace Daryl Doxzen. The town charter requires her to run in this election to complete the two years of his term. She would have to run again in 2001 for a four-year term.

William R. "Bill" Hall Jr., a two-term councilman, said he let his family decide whether he would run a third time and they gave him their approval. However, Hall said last week that he was on the fence.

"The council takes a lot of time, if you do it right," he said. "But, it can be enjoyable and rewarding."

Hall, 50, has three children still at home and works full time as a Baltimore firefighter and part time with a publisher. He serves on the town's police and economic development committees.

Most towns face problems attracting candidates for municipal offices, said Donald R. Jansiewicz, professor of political science at Carroll Community College. The work can be time-consuming and thankless.

"In the old days, there was a real sense of community," said Jansiewicz. "Life focused on what was going on in the town. Now the complexity of life has doubled and tripled and people are pulled in all directions."

Town elections are bipartisan and traditionally draw few voters. Two years ago, 85 of the 1,626 town voters elected the mayor and two council members. But for the annexation referendum in February, 627 registered voters went to the polls, approving the issue by a nearly 5-to-1 margin.

Burgoyne called the referendum "a mandate that puts a lot more backbone into what we do from now on. We know residents support us."

An uncontested election would mean "only town employees and families would show up," said Laura Lindberg, town clerk treasurer.

"A contest makes it much more interesting," she said. "We are hoping the referendum showed people how easy it is to vote here."

The most recent tally shows 1,936 registered voters in the town of about 3,500 residents. The Town House has had a few calls about election procedures, but no opponents to the sitting council members have made themselves known.

"We have had a few inquiries, but nothing solid and no one left a name," Lindberg said. "We really have no clue how many candidates we will have."

Nichols attended council meetings for several years before her appointment and offers advice to prospective candidates for the $600-a-year job.

"Get involved in town issues and get all the information," she said. "Then, be prepared to do all the work."

Nominations must be made and seconded by registered voters during the council meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. tomorrow in the Town House. Nominees must be present to accept. Information: 410-795-8959.

Pub Date: 4/11/99

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