Filing for two elected positions for the Luther Town Board of Trustees was last week. Only one person filed. Dr. Jeff Schwarzmeier, finishing up his first four-year term, signed up to run for another term. At the close of the filing period on Feb. 8, his name was the only candidate on the list. He automatically gets the volunteer job. And with no other candidates, there will not be a municipal election on April 4.
There will be an April 4 school board election. Filing for one seat on the Luther Board of Education was in December. Two candidates filed, Brandon Rogers, 33, who currently holds the seat, and Charles DeFuria, 71, a former school board member.
What about the open seat on the Luther Board of Trustees?
Trustee Brian Hall did not refile for another term. Thanks Brian, for your four years of service! You provided wise counsel and dug deep to help Luther. Literally, as the liaison for the town’s public works, Brian wielded a shovel more than once for a water leak or a sewer clog.
Even though you don’t have to dig holes literally to serve on the town board, it does require work and time, to do it correctly. From training to get up to speed on the enormity of federal and state laws to follow, to budget building for the town’s operations, to planning for growth, to updating (outdated) town ordinances, to modernizing the town’s operations, to voting “yay” or “nay” on agenda items during long meetings – there is much to the position.
Why were there no candidates? One theory could be that no big controversy stirred up anyone to come “make a change,” like there has been in the past, and there is confidence in the operation of the town. Another theory is apathy. At any rate, there should be a conversation about why. After all, serving in your local community is where you can make the most difference. Luther has many challenges and many opportunities.
During the 2021 municipal election, only 80 voters showed up. In an upset, voters rejected a hard-working trustee who devoted much time and passion to the Town during her four-year term.
The Town Board will likely appoint a trustee to serve until the next election. If there are applicants! The prospect of a shorter-term appointment may draw out some qualified applicants. But in my informal conversations with town residents, there’s almost a universal “NO WAY” when asked if they would serve. It’s puzzling. But we also get it; there are many constraints on our time, from family obligations to making a living, requiring careful prioritization.
Meanwhile, Harrah, Choctaw, and Jones voters have many candidates to choose from (and candidate challenges in Spencer and Forest Park. Check out the filing list produced by the Oklahoma County Election Board.