Filings have closed for Monett City Council seats. Enough candidates filed to create races for both mayor and city commissioners.
Two-term mayor James Orr is running against Dennis Murphy, a Tyson Foods employee, for the top job. This is Murphy's first bid for public office.
Another first-time candidate expanded the field for city commissioners to a three-person race. Businessman Stephen Schoen has filed to run against Mike Brownsberger, who has held office since 2007, and four-term incumbent Jerry Dierker.
Schoen was a long-time associate in Schoen Equipment, a business he has continued to market corn-burning stoves for home use. Brownsberger owns Brownsberger's clothing store in downtown Monett. Dierker is a construction contractor.
City Administrator Dennis Pyle said confusion remains over why Monett had to open filings much earlier than other towns for the April 3, 2012, election. Under state law for the two towns that have commission forms of government, including Monett, a primary election is required two months before the municipal election, no matter how many candidates are running.
The primary is meant to reduce the number of mayoral candidates to two and the total running for city commissioner to four.
Monett officials asked the Missouri General Assembly to change the law, making the primary unnecessary if the field of candidates failed to surpass the post-primary limit. On its own, the bill failed to advance. Lawmakers finally attached it to the omnibus spending bill that received a veto from Governor Jay Nixon.
The primary will be held on Feb. 7, 2012, during the presidential preference vote. Pyle said the city will be billed several thousand dollars for having the required election even though the results will have no effect on the April 3, 2012, vote.