Apathy leaves trustee seat vacant

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Former Whitehall Mayor Ken Bartholomew

By Dan King

Whitehall’s mayor-elect, Ken Bartholomew was hoping someone would emerge to take his old trustee position, but that didn’t happen.

Village law says that with Bartholomew winning the mayoral race last week, he is now left with the task of appointing someone to the remainder of his term as trustee, but there is no interest.

“(If there’s) No interest to participate in the electoral process, then I have no intention of ‘talking’ someone into taking the position,” Bartholomew said.

That apathy has the new mayor a little frustrated.

“I am very disappointed in the lack of participation in the elections of candidates in either party or in an independent candidate actually taking the time to get the required numbers of signatures in a proper petition to have their name formally put on the ballot,” Bartholomew said in an email.

He said if someone put forth the effort to run for trustee and finished in third place, thus not winning one of the two trustee spots, he would have appointed that person to his old seat, regardless of party affiliation.

However, because nobody put in that effort, Bartholomew said he is in no rush to make that decision.

“If someone steps forward and asks for the position and has a reasonable explanation for not formally getting on the ballot and is actually wanting to help, I will happily listen and consider them for the position,” he said. “The law doesn’t set a time limit for naming someone and I am in no hurry. It has to be someone in whom I have confidence will be good for the Village.”

Overall, 145 total people came out to vote in the uncontested elections last Wednesday.

On the Mayoral ticket, Bartholomew, the republican was elected to replace Peter Telisky who had decided not to run for reelection. There were 117 total votes registered for mayor, of which 99 went to Bartholomew and 18 were write-ins.

Bartholomew said in February that he will look to continue many of Telisky’s projects, such as nuisance laws and sewer issues, while also setting his scopes on new policies, such as new term lengths and working with the Washington County Sheriff’s Department to let Whitehall Police respond to incidents at Whitehall School District.

Two trustee seats were up for contention and only two candidates emerged. Trustee Marge Mohn, a democrat, will retain her seat after receiving 80 votes; she will be joined on the board by former Whitehall Mayor Pat Norton, a republican, who received 116 votes. There were also 23 voters who chose to write-in a candidate for trustee.