Panel's chief, 3 others won't seek re-election

Association officials say turmoil needs to give way to progress

April 05, 2000|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

After a tumultuous term during which meetings often erupted into vicious arguments, Crofton Civic Association President Gayle Sears and three others on the board governing the county's largest tax district will not seek re-election to their two-year posts this year, according to information released by the community elections committee.

Four others from the nine-member panel are seeking the top posts on the board's executive committee. Other residents have entered the race for board seats representing Crofton's neighborhoods.

Running for the presidency in one of three contested races is District 5 representative Richard Trunnell, a two-term board member often critical of Sears. He is facing Patrick Dunbar, president of the Crofton Athletic Council.

District 4 representative Cynthia Johnston, who has spearheaded efforts for a West County high school, and Laurie Torene, a former District 3 representative, will compete for secretary. Joeday Newsom and Ronald Burns, chairman of the architectural review committee, will vie for the District 5 spot, according to nomination records.

Nominations closed Friday for the election, which will be held May 22. The new board will be installed in June.

Sears said four years was enough after a difficult second term during which board members criticized her and discussed censoring her comments.

"I had certain things I wanted to accomplish -- getting more maintenance, getting the budget together and getting a better relationship with the county so they would trust us again," she said yesterday. "It was upsetting there was so much posturing. We could've done so much more."

Vice President Scott Davis, Treasurer John Conant and District 2 representative Michael Lapinski also will leave their seats this year. Conant and Lapinski said they had commitments that would require more of their time, but acknowledged that controversy over this year's budget and personality conflicts among board members contributed to their decision not to run.

"This past term was just a distasteful experience," said Conant, who had been vocal in conflicts with Sears. "I think the community will be better-served by getting some new faces."

Lapinski, often an ally of Sears, agreed that this year's tumult made progress difficult.

"I was a little disappointed we were focused more on issues of control and interpersonal relationships than doing what we set out to achieve, which is rebuilding the infrastructure," Lapinski said. "I know there was some controversy that was terribly distracting."

Several others are running uncontested for board seats. They are Martin Simon, current secretary, for vice president; John Hollywood, current District 3 representative, for treasurer; Steve Grimaud for re-election as District 1 representative; James Collett Jr. for District 2; Douglas Underhill for District 3; and Sharon Puckett for District 4.

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