While only two candidates have filed for seats on the Fort Scott City Commission, that number could change in the near future, city officials said.
Two residents have filed for one of three open spots on the commission, including incumbent Sam Mason, who has served since 2009 and is looking to keep his seat on the panel. The other hopeful is local chiropractor Luke Cosens, who announced his intent to run during last week's Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce Coffee. Both men recently filed by petition and hope to land one of three spots that will be up for election in April.
City Clerk Diane Clay said she has handed out two additional packets since the filing period opened Jan. 1. In past elections, some people have waited until the final day to file, which could mean a busy day for Clay on Tuesday. She said she's not sure if there will be enough filings to require a primary.
"Some want to file that morning," she said. "I expect one or two more to come in actually."
The other open seats on the commission are currently held by Jeanie Parker, who has served since 2009, and Mayor Jim Adams, who was first elected in 2007. The top two vote-getters this spring will be awarded four-year terms on the commission, while the third-place finisher will earn a two-year term.
Clay said Parker is at the end of her two-year term while Mason and Adams are finishing four-year terms. City elections are held every two years. All the seats are at-large positions and terms are staggered so not every commissioner is up for election at the same time.
"Every two years, we have three openings," Clay said.
To be eligible as a candidate for a city commission seat, applicants must live within the Fort Scott city limits, must be 18 years of age and a registered voter, Clay said.
The election information packets contain a declaration of intention form; a 2013 city election calendar that provides deadlines and the date commissioners are sworn in; an appointment of treasurer or candidate committee form; a Kansas Non-Partisan City/School Nomination Petition; an affidavit of petition circulator; and other forms.
Candidates may file by using the Candidate's Declaration of Intention, accompanied by a $10 fee, plus a $35 registration fee required under the Campaign Finance Act, or by using the petition forms bearing the names of 18 qualified electors, or 1 percent of the number of ballots cast in the last city general election. The $10 fee will be waived using this method, however, the $35 registration fee still applies.
Deadline to file is Tuesday, Jan. 22. Packets can be picked up at Clay's office at City Hall, 123 S. Main St. According to state law, if more than 10 people file, a primary will be held Feb. 26 to narrow the candidate field down to six.
The general election is set for April 2 when residents will also vote for school board and trustees of the Fort Scott Community College board.
No primary was held during the last city election in 2011, which featured four candidates: Parker, Tom Gorman, and current commissioners Cindy Bartelsmeyer and Gary Bukowski, whose seats will be up for election in 2015. Clay said there were 2,486 voters in the 2011 election.
In 2009, a new state law raised the number of candidates needed to hold a primary election from six to 10.