Three challengers file

Published 1:00 am Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Washington City Council’s five incumbents will have three challengers to face in November.
The filing period for municipal elections ended at noon Friday with two relatively new council candidates and one veteran in the race.
The veteran is former Councilman Richard Brooks, a local entrepreneur who was unable to achieve re-election in 2009.
Brooks couldn’t be reached for comment immediately.
The two newer candidates are Rick Gagliano, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2009, and Lloyd May, a novice office-seeker.
Running for re-election are incumbent Councilmen Gil Davis, Ed Moultrie, Bobby Roberson, William Pitt and Doug Mercer.
Mayor Archie Jennings is running unopposed.
May and Gagliano are favored by a subcommittee of the Beaufort County Republican Party.
Though Washington’s council races are nonpartisan, the GOP formed the subcommittee to identify conservative council candidates. Gagliano was a member of the subcommittee.
“We’re very pleased with the efforts of the subcommittee and we feel these two gentlemen will be very strong conservative candidates,” said Greg Dority, chairman of the county GOP. “The subcommittee is working on a platform and looking at funding options to support the conservative candidates in the race.”


Conservative groups closely allied with the tea party movement didn’t end up fielding a candidate.
These groups could endorse one of the Republicans in the race, but it’s too early to tell, confirmed Hood Richardson, a Beaufort County commissioner and president of the Beaufort County Conservative Republican Men’s Club.
“It’s hard to get anybody to run for anything – everybody just wants to complain,” Richardson said, adding, “We’re going to become players in the game, no doubt about that.”
Gagliano is a retired, still-licensed orthopedic prosthetist. He was a member of Washington’s Human Relations Council for six years, serving as vice chairman.
Gagliano ran for mayor roughly two years ago. He finished third behind incumbent Mayor Judy Jennette and the victor, Jennings.


“I like to be in positions where I can make some decisions and influence some people and get our city moving,” said Gagliano, who’s originally from south Brooklyn, N.Y. “It’s been doing pretty good the past couple of years, but we tend to stagnate here in North Carolina.”
Gagliano indicated he might have a better shot at winning a council seat than the mayor’s position.
“I’ve got my fundamentals still behind me from when I ran for mayor, but I bit off more than I could chew,” he said.
Asked how he could help improve the city, Gagliano mentioned the possibility of outsourcing some city services. He didn’t get into specifics.
“Not so people will get laid off or fired, but that they can be in a position of leadership under people,” he said.
May is an appointed member of the city’s Electric Utilities Advisory Commission. His three-year term on the commission expires June 30, 2012.
Born in Astoria, N.Y., May grew up in Greenville. He obtained a computer programming degree from Pitt Community College. He is the manager of United Delivery Service here.
This is May’s first time seeking political office.
He confirmed he would address rates charged by the city-owned-and-operated Washington Electric Utilities.
“It’s a big part of the city,” he said. “It’s a big part of why the city’s able to spend money on a lot of things. It’s important to the city, but it’s also a tax on customers, which are the citizens. I just feel we need to use our money wisely once we get that tax.”
A self-described conservative, May said he doesn’t think party affiliation will play a role in the nonpartisan council race.
“My thought process is most closely related to Doug Mercer, and he’s a Democrat, so I’m not sure party is going to play a role,” he commented. “I’m basically interested in what’s good for our citizens.”
Asked about the challengers, incumbent Davis responded in matter-of-fact fashion.
“It’s an open race and I would like to have the challenge and let the people decide what they would like to do,” said Davis, a retired city parks and recreation employee in his fourth year on the council.
“It doesn’t bother me,” he continued. “I’ll stand on my record and have done what I think best for the citizens. … I think I’ve done a good job, and I think the present council has done a good job.”
Davis knows Gagliano, who attends his church.
“I don’t have anything against him,” the councilman said, adding Gagliano would do a fairly good job for the city.
Other incumbent councilmen couldn’t be reached for comment immediately.
Other local filings include:
—    Town of Aurora (two commissioner seats): Mike Poteet, one seat vacant
—    Town of Bath (mayor, two commissioner seats): Jimmy Latham (mayor), Keith Tankard, John Taylor (commissioners)
—    Town of Chocowinity (two commissioner seats): M.L. Dunbar, Arlene Jones
—    Town of Pantego (mayor and five commissioner seats): Glenda Jackson (mayor), Chad Keech, Mart Benson, Stuart Edwin Ricks, Robert Floyd Edwards and Richard S. Craig (commissioners).
—    Town of Washington Park (mayor and five commissioners): Tom Richter (mayor), Jeff Peacock, Don Wilkinson and Lee Bowen (commissioners), two seats vacant.
Due to a shortage of filings, the filing period for Aurora and Washington Park has been extended until noon July 20, elections officials announced.
“In the event candidates have not filed for all offices to be filled, the outcome will be determined by Write In candidates,” reads information emailed by elections officials.