The decorations are put away, the cookies are eaten, the toasts to a new year have been shared and all the other hoopla tied to the holidays is done.
And while the end-of-the-year festivities have finished, a new season is about to debut – the 2019 elections.
“We are already starting our prep work for the next election cycle,” said Gerry McGuinness, voter registrar for Venango County, on Monday. “We reach out to townships, boroughs, cities, school districts to verify the information to make sure everything is current as to people in office. When we get it all back, we use it to build the ballot.”
While the bulk of elective offices up this year are small stipend, part-time township and borough posts, there are extremes, too. School board members serve free of charge while county row offices pay a livable wage plus benefits.
On May 21, the primary election will pit Republicans and Democrats against their own in the tri-county area as political party members endorse their nominees. The nominees will then face off in the general election in November.
Minor political parties will select their candidates in late summer.
Here are the top county offices up for election this year. The current officeholders are listed.
Commissioners – Albert “Chip” Abramovic, Tim Brooks, Vince Witherup
Treasurer – Deborah Sharpe
Prothonotary – Paula Palmer
Auditors – Teri McFadden, Heather Mohnkern, Jamie Weaver
Serving at mid-term are Shawn White, district attorney; Eric Foy, sheriff; Susan Hannon, register and recorder; and Christina Rugh, coroner. Their posts will be on the 2021 ballot.
Commissioners – Ed Heasley, Wayne Brosius, Ted Tharan
District attorney – Mark Aaron
Register-Recorder – Greg Mortimer
Treasurer – Tom McConnell
Auditors – Pamela Zahoran, Sue Leonard, Jolene Frampton
Prothonotary – Jeff Himes
Two county row offices will not be on the 2019 ballot because the incumbents’ terms do not expire until 2021. They are coroner Randall Stom and sheriff Rex Munsee.
Commissioners – Robert Snyder Jr., Basil Huffman, Norman Wimer
District attorney – Barbara Litten
Coroner – Norman Wimer
Register/Recorder/Prothonotary – Dawn M. Millin
Auditors – Deborah Wagner, Louise Fedora, Carolyn Mealy
The sheriff, Bob Wolfgang, is not up for election. His term expires in 2021.
Municipal posts are up
Elective posts in cities, boroughs and townships will also be on the May primary ballots.
In Oil City, two city council slots and the mayor’s job are up for election this year. The incumbents are Mayor Bill Moon and councilmen Ron Gustafson and Dale Massie.
Franklin voters will consider candidates for three city council jobs this year. Incumbents whose terms expire are deputy mayor Donna Fletcher and councilmen James Marshall and Fred Mays.
In Clarion Borough, three council seats will be on the 2019 ballots. They are held now by council president Carol Lapinto, Brenda Sanders-Dede and Earl Zerfoss.
School slots open
Voters will choose candidates for school board seats in all area school districts.
Typically, at least one-third of the board membership is up for election every two years.
The first day for candidates to circulate nomination petitions is Feb. 19. The completed petitions are due back to county election offices by March 12.