Moraine elects two councilwomen in special election

Ward 2 Councilwoman Teri Murphy and Shirley Whitt, who represents Ward 3, were voted in Tuesday in a special election in which they were unopposed.

Murphy garnered 16 votes while Whitt had 35, according to final but unofficial results from the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

Less than 3 percent of the 1,885 registered voters in the two wards cast votes, said Jan Kelly, director of the board of elections. Low turnout is to be expected in a special election, Whitt said, but the numbers Tuesday were disheartening.

“The turnout was so poor,” she said. “But when you’re unopposed, it’s going to be low. It helps to have competition.”

The special election was required by the city’s charter. Murphy, 58, and Whitt, 70, were appointed in May to fill the vacancies created when Ward 2 Councilman Dana Bonfield and Kim Misner of Ward 3 resigned as they moved out of the city.

The special election needed to be no later than 150 days from the first vacancy, according to the board of elections. Early August was considered for a date. However, the board of elections was told of the vacancies May 5 and it needed at least 100 days notification, officials said.

The city spent about $3,000 on the election, officials said.

The terms for the seats held by both Murphy and Whitt expire at the end of 2015.

“I look forward to working for the citizens of Ward 3, the city and the public and just doing the best job I can,” Whitt said.

Moraine council members earn a base salary of $1,200 a year, in addition to $20 a meeting, according to the city charter. The pay per meeting cannot exceed $80 a month, the charter states.

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