BOWIE – An additional 23 residents have applied for the vacant city council seat created by former Councilman Todd Turner’s departure, bringing the total number of candidates to 36. The seat became available when Turner won election to the Prince George’s County Council in November. City residents had until Dec. 31 to apply for the […]
BOWIE – An additional 23 residents have applied for the vacant city council seat created by former Councilman Todd Turner’s departure, bringing the total number of candidates to 36.
The seat became available when Turner won election to the Prince George’s County Council in November. City residents had until Dec. 31 to apply for the position.
According to City Clerk Awilda Hernandez, the 36 applications are the most for a seat in the city’s history—even more than the 24 applicants who applied for a vacancy in 2011.
Mayor G. Frederick Robinson said he thinks a lot of “talented people” have applied for the at-large seat.
“I’m looking for somebody that can work well with us, somebody that shares our interest in moving the city forward,” Robinson said. “I want somebody who shares an interest in quality economic development so that the business community and residential community can grow together and prosper.”
Una Cooper, communications coordinator for Bowie, said appointee selected by the city council will serve until the next city election on Nov. 3, 2015. The appointee will be eligible to run for reelection.
Councilman Dennis Brady said he and the rest of the council want to appoint someone who has been engaged in the community, puts citizens first and has knowledge of municipal government.
“Just because someone has submitted their name does not mean they understand all of the issues that are going on with the city,” Brady said. “I don’t expect anyone coming in to it to be an expert. I’ve been on it for over 20 years and I don’t consider myself to be an expert, but there is an expectation and a level of knowledge that should be there for anybody coming in.”
During interviews, Brady said the council plans to ask questions about zoning, planning and local governance issues. Brady said he would consider a lack of knowledge about civics and an inability to address specific issues as “deal breakers” when considering applicants.
“If they get the questions and really cannot articulate any kind of an answer, if they can’t formulate their opinion to demonstrate an understanding of the issues, then I think that’s the deal breaker,” said Brady. “If they don’t know what’s going on, it’s going to be hard to appoint someone who lacks the knowledge.”
The mayor and council will conduct interviews at city hall on Jan 10. The council hopes to conclude interviews by Jan 12. Cooper said each candidate will have 15 minutes to make his or her case.
“They’ll be asked a series of questions from various council members, and they’ll have a few minutes to make a statement about what they like to do, how they view the council or what their vision is for Bowie,” Cooper said. “I think people’s bodies of work and their experience and enthusiasm will come through very well in this situation.”
Cooper said the mayor and city council hope to appoint the new council member by evening on Jan 12.
“(The mayor and council) are going to finish their last interview around 10:00 p.m. and then put their heads together and come up with their selection that evening,” said Cooper.
The new council member will be sworn-in at the council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 20.
“The council is anxious to get a person on board to become acclimated to the work of the council before the budget work sessions begin in April,” Cooper said. “This hopefully will give them a couple of months of meetings under their belt.”
The newly-appointed council member will serve until Nov. 2015. If they want to remain in office after November then they will need to run and be elected to the seat during the election in November.
The full list of candidates includes:
• Bruce D. Edwards – Westview
• James A. Golato – Kenilworth
• Brenda Thompson – Somerset
• Karl H. Stehmer – Overbrook
• Joseph Edward Lim – Saddlebrook East
• Courtney D. Glass – Northview
• Sybil Smith-Gray – Glenn Allen
• Stephen N. Barr – Somerset
• Brandon A. Smith – Northridge/Hillmeade
• Carl J. Schuettler – Overbrook
• Keith Jackson Jr. – Chapel Forge
• Mishondy Wright-Brown – Highbridge Park
• Gail L. Elkins – Woodmore
• Kelly L. Pierce – Saddlebrook West
• H. L. Dufour Woolfley, Jr. – Longridge
• Parag Ambardekar – Derbyshire
• Mary Cunningham – Saddlebrook East
• James G. Bell – Northview
• Craig M. Muckle – Grovehurst
• Shawn Paxton – Huntington
• Monica Brown-Lipscomb – Somerset
• Kelly P. Rowe – Kenilworth
• Toni Adams – Glenridge
• Patrice Little Murray – Collington Station
• Babatunde Alegbeleye – Northview
• David J. Grogan – Bowie Town Center Condo
• Sanford E. Holman – Northridge
• Julie S. Holley – Somerset
• Dustin M. Kuzan – Bowie Forest
• Piero “Pete” V. Mellits – Buckingham
• Anita S. Studgeon – Meadowbrook
• J. Scott Hessberger, Jr. – Westview
• Muzar A. Jah – Huntington
• Martin P. Delgado – Somerset
• Charlene Beairsto – Belair Town
• Cecilia D. Marsh – Covington Manor