No one files to run for District 2 seat on Bristol school board

J. H. Osborne • Feb 15, 2007 at 10:39 AM

BRISTOL, Tenn. - It's official: No one is officially running for the District 2 seat on the five-member Bristol Tennessee Board of Education.

It's one of two Bristol BOE seats on the May 15 ballot.

The other is for District 4.

Three candidates filed to run for the District 4 seat before a noon deadline Thursday. They are Bill Alston, Kent Hales and Vincent Margiewicz.

Incumbents serving on the BOE for District 2 and District 4 are Beth W. Webb and Steve Morgan, respectively. Neither sought re-election.

Todd Bailey, public relations director for Bristol Tennessee City Schools, said the system continues to have strong support from community volunteers.

He said an abundance of volunteers are interested in serving the school system, but most are interested in duties that offer direct involvement with their children - such as homeroom mom, landscape committee or the PTA.

"Recent history has shown that parents are more reluctant to serve in positions that have less direct impact on children, such as PTA Council and the Board of Education," Bailey said. "This is especially true when there is a perception that anyone who does serve on the Board of Education will be unjustly criticized in the media."

Candidates for the Bristol BOE run according to the district they live in, but they are elected - to four-year terms - by voters citywide.

The lack of a candidate for the District 2 seat means it could be filled instead by a vote of the Bristol Tennessee City Council.

The city's charter says any vacancy on the BOE will be filled by a vote of the City Council. The District 2 seat will be considered vacant as of July 1 unless one or more people step forward to file for "write-in candidate" status.

Would-be write-in candidates still have time to file. The deadline to do so is 20 days prior to the election. Voters may write in anyone they want for any seat on the ballot - but under state law, election officials are only required to count results for official write-in candidates.

To qualify, write-in candidates would have to meet the regular requirements, including being a resident of the district and presenting a copy of high school or college diploma.

If no one runs as a write-in candidate, the District 2 seat will be considered vacant when new city officeholders take office July 1.

Also on the May 15 ballot are two "at large" seats on the Bristol Tennessee City Council.

Four candidates filed before the deadline Thursday. They are Wayne Chaney, John Robert Harrison, James E. Messimer and Fred Testa.

Incumbents whose seats are on the May 15 ballot are Councilman William "Bill" Bingham (at-large member) and Messimer (at-large member).

Juvenile Court Clerk Gay Hillman and Juvenile Court Judge Paul R. Wohlford each filed qualifying petitions to run for re-election.

Candidates in all races have until noon Feb. 22 to withdraw before the ballot is certified. The Sullivan County Election Commission is scheduled to meet Feb. 27 to certify the ballot.

For more information about the May 15 elections visit www.sullivancountyelections.org or contact the Sullivan County Election Commission at 323-6444.

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