Leader Blues

Monday, April 30, 2007

TOP STORY >>City could get woman for mayor

Leader staff writer

Is Sherwood ready for a woman mayor?

It might get one, as two of the five candidates for mayor are female. All five are competing for the seat left vacant when Mayor Dan Stedman resigned in early April, citing health reasons. Stedman was mayor for just four months.

The city council appointed former Mayor Bill Harmon, who opted to retire instead of running for mayor last year, as the interim mayor and set July 10 as the date to elect a new mayor who will serve out the nearly three-and-a-half years left on Stedmans term. Candidates may file for the office until noon Wednesday.

The first to file was City Clerk Virginia Hillman, 43, on the first day of the filing period, April 13. City activist Doris Anderson, 52, filed April 18. Mayor Bill Harmon, 79, filed April 19, followed by Richard Devine, 54, a realty specialist, on April 20 and retired Air Force veteran Victor Sierra, 57, on April 23.

Hillman, who has been the city clerk for six years and solidly won re-election in November, said that the city is ready for a change. Weve got some great things happening here in Sherwood, but some areas of the city are in need of drainage and street improvements. We need to take care of what we have, Hillman said.

Im ready and just think that I would do a really good job, she said. Anderson, who works for the Department of Labor, has been an advocate for Sherwood residents for years, attending city council and other meetings and letting city officials know when they have overstepped their bounds or not given citizens a fair shake.

I can bring professional and efficient government to the city, said Anderson, a certified public manager.
Anderson also promises not to bring a sales tax to the people for the purchase of the municipal golf course. She said she would also develop a sound plan to spend accordingly.

Harmon first became mayor in 1992, when Mayor Jack Evans died in office, and a special election was called.
He opted not to run again in 2006, saying it was time for him to retire. When he was named interim mayor earlier this month, Harmon remarked, Im tired of retirement and ready to serve the city again. Harmon said he likes being mayor and wants to finish the term. There are a lot of exciting things happening in Sherwood and I want to be a part of it, he said.

The interim mayor added, Ill give the same leadership Ive given the city over the past 14 years, and we made a lot of progress during that time. Devine, who works for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said he has lived in Sherwood since 1961 and is running because he wants the best for Sherwood.

I can provide stability and leadership, Devine said. Im good at negotiating and thats what is needed at this time. One thing I want to get across is that I want to allow the city council to do their job and Ill do the job of mayor and not cross boundaries in other words work together, Devine said.

Sierra, who has made Sherwood his home for more than 20 years, says the focus of the mayor should be on ways to make the city grow with new businesses. I feel the city needs new blood. I look forward to cracking down on drugs, providing a free health clinic and bringing in family restaurants like Red Lobster, he said.