September 30, 2002 11:00 pm

By Ray Linker

Observer Staff Writer

It's either feast or famine in the small city council races in Union County.

In Union, Elgin and Island City, there are candidates galore. Other cities could not muster enough interest to get candidates to file for all the open positions.

But it's too late to round up more candidates and get them on the official ballot for the Nov. 5 election. The deadline for filing was set by the individual cities. Sept. 5 was the last date for cities to give information to the Union County clerk for names to appear on the ballot.

So it appears several seats will be filled by write-in votes or go wanting.

Write-in votes are tallied and given to the cities after the election, Union County Clerk Nellie Bogue Hibbert said. It's up to the various cities to determine if the apparent write-in winners are qualified under the charters of the cities. Generally, cities can fill vacancies by appointment if no one is elected to fill a position.

Two former mayors of the city of Union are running against incumbent David Thomas. He is facing former mayors Susan M. Briggs and L.G. "Jerry" Moore to fill the two-year term beginning in January.

Seven people are running for various spots on the Union council, the same number as are running for election to the Island City City Council.

But other council positions in cities in Union County are going begging.

In Imbler, only incumbent Don McBride filed for a council seat. No one filed for mayor or for two council seats that have terms expiring at the end of the year.

In North Powder, no one filed for two council seats for which terms will expire. Mayor Carrie M. Crook and councilor Neal Chamberlain filed for re-election.

Cove will have three blank spots on the ballot for councilors. Long-time Mayor Richard Thew and councilor James C. Lundy filed for re-election and are unopposed.

In Summerville, no one filed for the two council seats up for election.

In Island City, Mayor Dale De Long is being challenged by councilor Sandi Donnelly. Incumbent Andy Younggren faces Michael Donnelly for one council seat.

Don W. Anderson and Tony Boyd will battle to fill another Island City seat, while 16-year-veteran councilor Joyce Lee Beeman is unopposed.

Union City Council

Besides the mayor's race in Union, three other seats will be filled, but only one is contested: Roger K. Clark faces Everett "Butch" Hancock for Position 4.

Jack Zimmerman, who has been on the council in the past, and incumbent Tod M. Hull are unopposed for two seats.

Briggs was mayor for six years and served two other years on the council. Moore was mayor from 1989 to 1992.

Thomas became mayor four years ago, defeating Briggs.

Elgin City Council

In Elgin, Mayor Bertha Churchill is opposed by Malcolm Betts. Running for three council seats are two incumbents, John L. McElravy and John Stover, and challengers Shannon Pallis, Mike Schmittle and Carmen Gentry. Sharon Glasson is not seeking re-election.

Also on the Nov. 5 ballot:

Elgin recorder/city administrator Joe Garlitz is unopposed.

So is Imbler's recorder, Ruth Zemke.

Elgin voters will decide if the administrator should continue to be elected by the voters or if he or she should be appointed by the city council. If the charter amendment passes, the administrator would serve at the pleasure of the council, with a majority of the council able to appoint or remove an administrator.

The Island City Cemetery District is seeking a five-year local-option tax to keep the current level of maintenance and service. The increase of 16 cents per $1,000 of valuation of personal property will raise $25,719 in 2003-04 and go up to $28,946 in the final year for a total of $136,543.