Mayor Morris Flewwelling will gauge the opinions of trustworthy advisors and the community-at-large before announcing whether he’ll seek a third Red Deer mayoralty term next October.
Speaking from his second-floor corner office at City Hall, Flewwelling said he remains zealous for the job that he’s held since 2004.
Five councillors out of eight say they plan to seek re-election, two of whom say they’re considering a shot at the mayor’s chair. The remaining three are noncommittal at this point.
Next year’s municipal vote will take place on Oct. 18.
“I am in good health, I love what I am doing, but one has to always remember that the position you hold is at the pleasure of the community,” said Flewwelling, 68.
Flewwelling was on sick leave for nearly two months after being hospitalized with pneumonia in late December 2006.
Over the coming months, Flewwelling will listen to what his advisors tell him, one of whom is his wife Hazel. They will hear what’s being said in the community, and he’ll do the same.
“I need the support of my family to run again,” added Flewwelling, the father of two grown sons.
Prior to being elected as mayor in 2004 and again in 2007, Flewwelling served as councillor for three consecutive terms. He also served as councillor for one term in the 1970s.
He initially committed himself to serve as mayor for six years.
Flewwelling anticipates making a public announcement just prior to summer, as he did previously. He said it gives potential contenders time to campaign.
He welcomes challengers among the eight councillors on council — Buck Buchanan, Cindy Jefferies, Lynne Mulder, Gail Parks, Larry Pimm, Tara Veer, Lorna Watkinson-Zimmer and Larry Wong.
Jefferies, a stay-at-home mother of three sons aged 12, 15 and 17, will seek re-election but hasn’t decided whether she’ll run for mayor. She was first elected in 2004.
“A lot of people are asking me about the mayor’s chair,” said Jefferies. “Morris may run again and I have family to consider.”
Veer, first elected in 2004, said she’d be honoured to serve a third term because she has “more work to do for our community.”
“I have thought about it (mayor’s job),” said Veer, the youngest councillor at age 31. “But I think there’s a lot to take into consideration into what office a person seeks. I want to ensure I have a strong vision for that office.”
Mulder, a former Red Deer College vice-president, plans to run for her third term. She said her goal from the start was to serve no more than three terms or nine years in office.
Wong, a retired planning assistant with the city, said he hasn’t yet decided on whether he’ll run a third term.
Pimm, who served from 1980 to 1985 and again from 1998 onward, said he will likely decide next summer on whether to serve a 10th term.
“I like short campaigns and who wants to be a lame duck,” said the retired teacher. “If we start campaigning now. . . give me a break.”
Watkinson-Zimmer said she “certainly” plans on seeking a sixth term.
“I am enjoying it,” said the downtown businesswoman. “It’s a very busy life — 10 times busier than when I first started.”
Former Mountie and rookie councillor Buck Buchanan said he plans to run for re-election. Also elected in 2007, Gail Parks said “it’s pretty early to say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’”
“I have to talk to the community, to appreciate their views on whether I have lived up to their expectations,” said Parks, a former city councillor from Newmarket, Ont.
The eight councillors are paid $27,016 and the mayor receives $80,181. A portion of council salaries are tax free.