Filing deadline one week away and plenty of seats still open on NEJC city councils

Voter_HereThe filing deadline for this spring’s local election cycle is one week away and a number of seats on local city councils still do not have candidates.

Prairie Village, Merriam, Fairway, Roeland Park, Westwood Hills, Mission Hills, Mission Woods all have elections this year – although Prairie Village is only for mayor. Councilor Laura Wassmer is the only candidate to have filed for Prairie Village mayor to date.

Also, the Shawnee Mission School Board has four seats open this year and candidates have filed for each of those positions. Incumbents Deb Zila, the current board president, Sara Goodburn and Patty Mach, all have filed for re-election and do not have challengers so far. The fourth seat open is now held by Joan Leavens, who has not filed for re-election. However, that position already has two candidates: Elizabeth Rulo and Brad Stratton, both of Overland Park.

In Roeland Park, the council seats held by Becky Fast, Jennifer Gunby, Megan England and Marek Gliniecki all expire this year and only Fast has filed for re-election. Gunby has indicated she will not run for re-election because professional commitments may require her to move before the term would be complete. JoAnna Rush, who was a frequent speaker during this year’s anti-discrimination debate, has filed for the seat held by Gliniecki. No other Roeland Park filings have been registered with the Johnson County Election Office yet.

In Merriam, the seats held by John Canterbury, Al Frisby, Nancy Hupp and Pam Bertoncin are up for election. Frisky is the only incumbent to file for re-election so far. Robert Weems has filed for the seat now held by Canterbury and Bob Pape, the city’s former fire chief, has filed for the seat Bertoncin holds. Merriam also is in the process of filling two unexpired terms due to council resignation. Those terms will run until 2017.

In Fairway, incumbents James Poplinger and Gail Gregory have filed for re-election – the only two filings so far. The other two seats up this year are held by Tony Liu and J.D. Fair.

Mission Hills elects council members at-large and three have terms expiring this year: Lisa Creighton Hendricks, David Dickey and Dan Sullivan. Dickey and Sullivan have filed for re-election.

Both Westwood Hills and Mission Woods elect their entire five-member councils and mayors every two years and the entire council is elected at-large. No filings have been made in Mission Woods and only Mayor Paula Schwach has filed for election in Westwood Hills.

Christian Nafziger, Rosemary Podrebarac, Gailen Stockwell, John Weedman and Ludwig Villas are the current Westwood Hills council. In Mission Woods, Mayor Robert Tietze and councilors Charles Bachand, John Baenisch, Willian Dunn Jr., Cory Fisher and William Sanders make up the governing body.

Candidates have until noon Jan. 27 to file their candidacies. The date for a primary election – although none is needed as yet in any of the NEJC seats – is March 3 and the general election for the municipal offices is scheduled for April 7. Other elections on this cycle include the Johnson County Community College, the Merriam Drainage District and Water District No. 1. (All filings as listed by Johnson County Election Office as of Tuesday morning.)