Fall ballot sets stage for change at clerk’s office

Sunday Times Newspapers

TRENTON – Whether voters select a new city council member in November remains to be seen, but the otherwise quiet fall ballot will result in an uncontested change in municipal operations.

City Clerk Patricia Gearhart will not seek re-election – she’d announced in June her plans to retire – and Deputy Clerk Debra Devitt is the lone candidate for the position.

“It’s a four-year term and I didn’t want to run for something knowing I might not fulfill it,” Gearhart said. “My husband has been retired for years, so it was time.”

Gearhart has worked at the city clerk’s office since 1991, where four years later she was appointed deputy clerk, a post she held until being elected clerk in November 2011.

Gearhart said passing the baton to Devitt will be a smooth transition, similar to her own acceptance of the position. The timing works well, she said, heading into the 2016 presidential election year with expectations of new voting equipment.

“It’s best to get someone in on the ground floor,” Gearhart said. “She’s already certified and ready to step right in and do the job.”

Devitt is seeking the position uncontested, as are Mayor Kyle Stack, Assessor John Dahlquist and Treasurer Mike McCullough.

Voters will be asked to choose three city council members to serve a four-year term from among four candidates. Incumbents seeking re-election are Robert Howey, Bill LeFevre and MaryEllen McLeod. Nelson Perugi, a member of the city’s planning commission, also is running for city council.

(James Mitchell can be reached at jmitchell@bewickpublications.com.)