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Incumbents dominate race for mayor, Council and School Committee

Editor's Note: Any candidate who would like to submit a political statement can do so by emailing it to mkealey@reminderpublications. com. or by faxing it to (413) 592-5286. Reminder Publications will do its best to publish it as space is available.

By Michelle Kealey

Staff Writer

WEST SPRINGFIELD Just a week after nomination papers became available, many residents have already visited the City Clerk's Office to take out papers to run for the various positions.

As of July 7, 15 residents have picked up nomination papers, many of whom are incumbent city councilors and School Committee members.

City Clerk Diane Foley said that it is difficult find a trend in how quickly candidates take out nomination papers. She added that there may be more interest.

She explained that because West Springfield switched its form of government to include a mayor and City Council five years ago and have only had two elections, she does not have enough years to make a comparison.

Although many potential candidates have taken out nomination papers, no one has returned them thus far, according to Foley.

Mayor Edward Gibson is the only person to take out nomination papers for the position of mayor.

Gibson, who is the city's first mayor, announced his candidacy during an event on July 1.

During the last election, Gibson had three opponents and a preliminary election was necessary.

The position of mayor includes a yearly salary of $80,000. Candidates must collect 100 certified signatures in order to run.

As of July 7, three incumbent councilors-at-large have taken out nomination papers. The councilors include Kathleen Bourque, George Kelly and Paul Buodo.

In addition to the incumbent councilors-at-large, newcomer Ralph Shapiro has taken out papers to run for that position.

Candidates for councilor-at-large must collect 100 signatures to run for office. There are five councilor-at-large positions, which pays a yearly stipend of $6,000.

In addition to the five at-large City Council seats, there are four district positions.

Candidates for district city councilor seats must collect 50 signatures. The position pays a yearly stipend of $6,000

Incumbent District One City Councilor Angus Rushlow is the only resident thus far who has taken out papers for that position.

Cynthia Romaniak, incumbent District Two city councilor, is currently running upopposed.

Incumbent District Three City Councilor Michael Finn has taken out papers and, if papers are returned, he may also have a challenger.

Robert Mancini took out his nomination papers for District Three councilor on July 5.

No one has taken out papers for the District Four councilor position, which is currently held by State Representative Jim Welch.

During the first week that nomination papers were available, all six School Committee incumbents were the only residents to take out papers for the seven positions on the Committee. The mayor fills the seventh position and serves as the chair of the Committee.

The Committee members are Nancy Farrell, Joseph Foresi, Jr., Kathleen Alevras, Patricia Garbacik, Peter Andrew, and Daniel Sullivan.

School Committee members must collect 100 signatures. The position pays a yearly stipend of $2,000.

The candidates who are elected will begin serving their two-year terms on the first business day in January 2006.

A preliminary election will be needed for each position that attracts more than twice the number of candidates needed for each position. A preliminary will be needed if there are three candidates for mayor, more that 10 at-large candidates, more that two City Council candidates in each district and more that 12 candidates for School Committee.

Due to a staff shortage and cutback in hours at the City Clerk's Office, nomination papers can be obtained between the hours of 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and 1 - 2 p.m.