Editorial: Only change is certain in Landis election
Those seeking change in the town of Landis may have looked at the final list of candidates on Friday as good news.
The list excludes Mayor Mike Mahaley, Mayor Pro Tem Tommy Garver and Aldermen Seth Moore. All three chose not to file for re-election this year. That makes the task for those seeking to throw out all incumbents up for re-election much easier than it would be if one or more than chosen to try to keep their seat.
And voters in Landis will have plenty of choices for who fills their spots. At the close of filing on Friday there were five candidates for mayor: Meredith
Smith, Alby Stamey, Mark Connell, Bobby Brown and Dorland Abernathy.
If the last two names on that list sound familiar to Landis voters, it’s because Brown is an incumbent alderman whose term on the board doesn’t end until 2021. Abernathy is a former member of the board who was unsuccessful in his bid for re-election in 2017. Whether it’s one of the three challengers, Brown or Abernathy, Landis will have a new mayor in 2019.
And at the Post, we hope that whomever receives the most votes takes accusations of embezzlement by town employees seriously, abstains from cheerleading chants of “fake news” and doesn’t “brag on” a former town manager who is being investigated for allegedly embezzling money from the town. That’s the baseline criteria. All three are areas where Mahaley fell woefully short.
Aldermen must analyze budget line items and not be afraid to ask tough questions of staff members. It’s clear that Moore was serious about allegations of misconduct, as he claimed to have made the initial referral to law enforcement about claims of embezzlement. Though, we think he made the wrong call earlier this month to support a policy allowing town employees to run for office. On that count, Garver was right, as he opposed the same change.
In 2019, Landis voters will have four candidates running for two spots in the Board of Aldermen race: Darrell Overcash, Katie Sells, Ashley Stewart and Buddy Porter. And there will be at least two new aldermen. If Brown wins in the mayoral race, the Board of Aldermen can appoint someone to fill his position, which would make three new officeholders.
With no incumbents filing for re-election and so many challengers, only one thing is certain in Landis in this year’s election — change.