SHERIDAN — There are four positions open on City Council. Three candidates will run uncontested for the three four-year terms after Mayor John Heath dropped out of the running when he was appointed mayor. Candidates include Council President Alex Lee, Councilman Jesus Rios and City Planning Commissioner Kelly Gooch.
The fourth position is a two-year unexpired term, and three candidates have filed to fill it. These include:
• Councilman Robert Webster: Webster has served on council with mayors Della Herbst, Jim Wilson, Dave Kinskey and now Heath. He has lived in Sheridan 47 years and said his longevity on the council enables him to offer perspective and leadership. He is a safety officer for RENEW.
• Planning Commissioner Thayer Shafer: Shafer has been active in community service and helped start recycling, the first community garden and the first farmers market in Sheridan. He has been a small business owner who wants to continue to make Sheridan more business friendly.
• Mona Hansen: Hansen served on City Council from 2005-2008, representing Ward 3. She wants Sheridan to attract light manufacturing businesses to provide stability during booms and busts. Hansen also wants to care for senior citizens who are the backbone of the community.
Q: Since Sheridan voters said no to a city manger in 2008 why do we need a chief of staff at a cost of $137,000?
• Shafer: Shafer said he can understand Heath wanting help on a temporary basis and that Adriaens was a good choice due to his work on the five-year budget plan and two-year budget passed by the city. However, he is not sure why a temporary position should be funded at such a high level and said if the position becomes permanent it needs to go through a more extensive vetting process.
• Hansen: Hansen said she thinks the chief of staff is necessary to transition between two mayors because he can take care of the day-to-day business of the city, enabling Heath to attend meetings in Cheyenne and make Sheridan more business ready.
• Webster: Webster said it is important for people to understand that the Wyoming Constitution allows three forms of government, with a city manager being one of them. He said the chief of staff position was hired to help the mayor perform city duties so Heath could work on promoting Sheridan.
Q: What is your stance on water fluoridation, and under which guidelines was the city able to usurp the vote against fluoridation in 1953?
• Webster: Webster said it is democracy to have a group of people who don’t want fluoridation, but that he voted for it because it seemed good for the city’s residents, especially children. He said he’d like to see the matter of whether to add fluoride be decided by a neutral third party in the courts if that is what people want.
• Hansen: Hansen said she has waffled on the issue of water fluoridation but ultimately decided she is for it. In an earlier interview with The Sheridan Press, she said she would back up Council’s 2010 vote to add fluoride to the water. At the forum, she added that she, too, thinks the matter should be decided in the courts.
• Shafer: Shafer is against the addition of fluoride to Sheridan’s water supply. He said he doesn’t think topical application of fluoride is bad but that he disagrees with subjugating residents to fluoride if they don’t want it. He said he has read a Harvard study indicating that fluoride may lead to a slight decrease in intelligence, but that he understands the verdict is still out. He thinks the courts are a good place to decide the matter.