Mays seeks to maintain nonpartisan city elections

Fourth Ward Alderman Steven Mays is aiming Monday night to repeal a resolution passed by the Pine Bluff City Council on Dec. 3, 2012, that sought to set the stage for partisan primary elections in municipal elections to select candidates for general elections starting in 2014.

Mays will introduce a resolution at Monday’s City Council meeting to repeal Resolution No. 3551 and keep municipal elections nonpartisan.

“I feel that making municipal elections partisan will hurt the younger politicians who consider running for office in the future,” Mays said Friday afternoon. “It will create more divisions in our city and will take the focus away from taking care of our citizens. We need to do all that we can to keep our city together and keep our city moving forward.”

Second Ward Alderman Wayne Easterly said Friday that he would support Mays’ resolution.

“I didn’t support the resolution that was passed last year so I will support Mays’ effort to repeal it,” Easterly said Friday. “I think some of the supporters of the resolution passed last year were hoping they would get a lot of Democratic Party funding but then they found out they will have to pay fees as well.”

Third Ward Alderman Bill Brumett said a repeal of the existing resolution is needed.

“I think it is in the best interests of the citizens of Pine Bluff that the candidates for city office not be partisan,” Brumett said.

Second Ward Alderman Charles Boyd said he would need to get more information from Mays before taking a position on the issue.

“I haven’t had the chance to speak with Alderman Mays to see where he wants to go with it yet,” Boyd said. “So I don’t have enough information to comment on the resolution right now.”

Third Ward Alderman Glen Brown said a repeal would not take the city in the right direction.

“I wish our city would move forward and stop repealing things that have already been passed,” Brown said Friday. “I voted for the resolution last year to make municipal elections partisan in part because candidates for state and national office have to announce their party affiliation. If you are a Democrat or a Republican I don’t believe you should hide behind nonpartisan elections. I believe that if you are proud of your party affiliation, and I am, then you should run for election with that party.”

First Ward Alderman Thelma Walker said that she had not yet read the resolution and so did not have a comment to give on the topic.

Phone messages left for First Ward Alderman Lloyd Holcomb and Fourth Ward Alderman George Stepps were not returned.