Election awareness is beginning to heat up. I haven’t seen any signs around town yet, but you can be sure those silk screeners are getting orders, design and color options.

I’m wondering what sort of mottos the incumbents will foist on us this year, for we have two council members and a city clerk clinging to their seats like three burs to a pair of wool socks. They certainly can’t use the tried and true ones like “Take back our town” because they already took it back and broke it in half. They broke every dependable department in city hall and brought in a new city manager who managed the destruction by outraging all city employees and forcing the publication of two open letters of no confidence. Confidence and cooperation at city hall was shattered as never before.

They gave us a city manager whose performance during her short tenure at her previous job was so bad that the city council had to buy out her contract for more than $300,000 to get rid of her. She also left that city (Lathrup) with nearly a half-million in legal costs for her outrageous treatment of a city employee. Former councilwoman Patti Walker was the only Fillmore resident to investigate and recommend this new choice of city manager. Councilman Steve Conaway had been scheduled to participate in that investigation but he was tricked out of going at the last minute. Though cautioned to give our new manager a probation period of six months to one year, the incumbent majority ignored the advice. Later, though demanding a professional job review of City Engineer Bert Rapp (20-year employee) and Roy Payne, former 20-year city manager, then business coordinator for the city, council majority skipped this routine examination for their new city manager, and extended her contract.

Our city clerk, Clay Westling, bragged about coming into office as part of the Katzenjammer cabal (telling us just how it was done, from the council chamber rostrum). He has always been little more than a gofer for that group, literally led around town by King Kat (Gary Creagle) himself, before and after the election (even paying a memorable visit to the Gazette’s office). Recently, Clay did his best to prevent would-be candidates (especially for his own office of city clerk) from learning of the filing deadlines. He was obviously hoping to run unopposed, guaranteeing his re-election, avoiding signage expense and having to face his constituents, through inadequate notice. But the Gazette discovered and reported his stealthy ways – and a very bright new candidate (without an agenda) by the name of Nancy Meyer came forward. Welcome, Nancy!