February 8, 2016

Gardner City Council ballot set

Danedri Thompson


A lot of newcomers threw their hats in the ring for a chance to sit on the Gardner City Council for the next four years. Three seats will be up for grabs in the April 5 municipal elections and eight people are vying for the seats of Steve Hale, Dan Newburg and Todd Winters. None of the three will run for re-election.

Both Hale and Newburg were appointed to the council, Hale in 2009 and Newburg in 2010.

Although no incumbents will be on the ballot, one candidate has some experience on the council. Dennis Pugh served for a few months on the council in 2009, after he was appointed by former Mayor Carol Lehman. He lost his election bid that year, but was briefly considered for appointment by the council by Mayor Dave Drovetta.

Two other candidates are familiar names on Gardner municipal ballots. Larry Fotovich lost his mayoral bid in 2009 to Drovetta by four votes.

Tory Roberts also ran for council in 2009. She lost in the primary that year. However, Drovetta appointed her to the planning commission.

Gardner voters may also be familiar with Jared Taylor, who is running for a seat on the Gardner council for the first time. Taylor was one of three Gardner residents who spearheaded the efforts that saw John Shepherd and Mary Peters ousted from the city council. Their recall saw the appointment of Newburg to the council and Kristina Harrision – who isn’t up for re-election until 2013, to the council.

Other candidates for office include Jeff Barber, Dustin Martin, Chris Morrow and Bill Sutton.

According to Stewart Fairburn, Gardner City Administrator, city council members ensure the proper governance of the city.

They’re role, he said, is “to bring forward issues and concerns – to weigh all the issues that are before them in an even manner and to make decisions.”

One of the biggest decisions is the approval of the approximately $30 million city budget each year. That includes approving the city’s property tax rate. Revenues for the budget are largely derived from property taxes, sales taxes and fees.

Fairburn said there’s a council responsibility that trumps budgeting.

“One of the key things for council is to establish the vision for where they want the community to go,” he said.

Due to a 2008 law, municipal elections in cities of the second class do not host primary elections unless there are at least three candidates vying for each position on the council. The general election ballot will include all eight candidates. Of those, Gardner voters will be asked to select three.


  1. We have around 10,000 registered voters in the city of Gardner. I wonder how many of them will be voting this city council election. Will it be same ole 15% of the registered voters voting? I hope all citizens completely understand what kind of government they get with this type of apathy by the people. Will citizens be very informed and educated on important issues and not for just now but for numerous years? I am also most anxious to see what the people feel are their most important issues and how the candidates address those issues or have the intelligence to tell the people these are the important things to be working on. I will most interested to see how candidates display any moral values they have or perhaps some will display how they have no moral values. Citizens need to be good listeners and know their history and know what is motivating people to do what they do.

  2. Jerry L Kellogg Sr says:

    Well said, Judith.

  3. Get out and vote if you want a say in the matters to come!

  4. I watch Bell, California closely since I feel it is the epitome of what can happen when you have citizen apathy – it brings you lousy and corrupt government and Bell, California is the perfect example – much to learn from their failures.

    Bell, Ca. is now looking at getting rid of their police department in order to avoid bankruptcy (think about why Gardner recently got rid of their fire department – too much debt and this is a way to cut debt plus expenses but it will create higher fire protection costs for the citizens in the long run in my opinion). The city administration and elected officials were financially raping the people for years, they were instigating illegal taxes, etc., etc. That is why the people need to keep a close eye on salaries and benefits being given to ALL city employees and it needs to be checked year in and year out and also costs to city attorneys and others receiving city contracts – never let the city administration get by without getting sealed bids – those policies on getting sealed bids are there for a reason – TRUST BUT VERIFY.

    So check out this article and hopefully learn from some other’s city’s mistakes and suffering. http://www.latimes.com/news/la-bell-police-m,0,6774104.story

    Get informed and make WISE CHOICES in that voting booth in a month or so.

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