Council members to vie for South Bethany mayor seat

As has often been the case in recent years, South Bethany has a bevy of candidates in its annual elections. But changes are in store for the town, based on who is running in 2010 and who is not, as those not running for re-election include longtime mayor Gary Jayne and longtime council member Marge Gassinger, as well as one-year council member Diane Matera.

Jayne is term-limited by a portion of the town charter that requires that a three-term mayor take off at least one term before being able to serve as mayor again.

Two current council members will vie to become South Bethany’s new mayor, with Joseph “Jay” Headman and first-term councilman Robert A. Youngs having filed to run. Both men have council terms ending in 2011. The mayoral position also has a two-year term.

There are six candidates for the three council seats up for election in 2010, but only one of them is an incumbent – John P. Fields.

In addition to Fields, candidates for the three seats include Susan “Sue” Callaway, George Junkin II, Michael G. Morabito (who ran unsuccessfully for council in 2009), Andrew T. Ross and Mary L. Suazo. Neither Matera nor Gassinger filed for re-election. The council seats also have two-year terms, these ending in 2012.

With two council members as candidates for mayor, an additional council seat would come open at the time of the new mayor’s swearing-in. According to the town charter, the remaining council members would then, by majority vote, select a qualified person to serve on the council until the 2011 election, which would complete the remainder of either councilman’s term.

South Bethany voters will go to the polls to place their votes for mayor and three council members on Saturday, May 29, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the town hall.

Absentee ballots are available for any resident who is not able to vote at town hall on May 29. Residents who need to obtain an absentee ballot by mail should call the town hall at (302) 539-3653, and an affidavit will be mailed to them. After receipt of the affidavit, the absentee ballot will be mailed. Voters may also come to town hall between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to complete the affidavit and receive an absentee ballot.

The affidavit and ballot must be filed with the town no later than 3 p.m. on the day of the election. Those who have questions regarding their qualification to vote in the town election should contact town hall.

The town will not hold a referendum on a proposal for a town park, as previously planned for the May 29 elections. The town council scrapped that idea this month, with a consensus that the issue was too complicated for voters to make an educated decision by May 29.