With the absentee ballots remaining to be counted, it appears that incumbent Bob Molloy will retain his seat on the Kenai City Council for the next three years. As of Tuesday night, Molloy lead the race with 471 votes, while the other seat is contested between Jim Glendening and Mike Boyle, who are separated by 31 votes — Boyle with 383 and Glendening with 352.
Either Glendening or Boyle will fill the open seat left by council member Ryan Marquis, who declined to run for re-election.
Molloy, an attorney, will now begin his fifth term on the council (in his first one-year term, he took the place of a departing council member). Molloy said he believed voters were drawn to “some of the comments that I was making during the campaign regarding being careful in expenditures and the budget. Also the focus on planning and infrastructure.”
Boyle, a former Kenai Central High School vocational education teacher and current educational coordinator at Wildwood Correctional complex, previously sat on the council from 2005 to 2014 before losing re-election in 2014. Boyle said his priority would be the “daily, weekly, monthly running of the city. Someone’s got to do it. So I look at it from the perspective of ‘why not me?’”
Glendening, currently a member of the Kenai Municipal and Kenai Peninsula Borough Planning and Zoning committees, said that he believed “the fiscal conservatism and the championing of seniors and bluff erosion” had helped his campaign.
In addition to choosing two of the three candidates, Kenai voters chose among three ballot propositions changing the procedures of the council. The three propositions were all introduced by Kenai Mayor Pat Porter in June.
As of Tuesday, it appeared proposition one, which would create designated seats in the council, allowing candidates to run against selected opponents, was passing by seven votes. Proposition two — allowing the council to cancel meetings in case of emergencies, lack of attendance, or by a majority vote — had 68 percent of counted votes in its favor. Proposition three — doing away with a require that candidates collect 20 signatures to eligible for election — had 61 percent of votes cast against the measure.
At least one Kenai resident saw the Kenai ballot propositions as an big issue.
“I voted against all the amendments to the charter,” voter Ed Stein said. “I think they were all b.s. They (city council members) were elected to do a job, they should do it.”
Others were less concerned about the propositions.
“They were just organizing, how to arrange the city council,” Brad Nyquist said. “I didn’t have a strong feeling about it one way or the other.”
Bruce Richards had a similar view, describing the propositions as “some housekeeping measures for the city council.”
“I didn’t see anything too controversial in them,” Richards said. He said, however, that proposition 1 might serve a beneficial purpose.
“I suppose if somebody really got sideways and somebody else wanted to try knocking them out, this might help them do that,” Richards said.
Bill Leslie was uncertain of what Proposition 1’s effect might be.
“I can see where it might make some people feel better to have designated seats,” Leslie said. “I don’t think there’s necessarily going to be a change or improvement. Maybe nothing changes, but maybe something will change down the road.”
Proposition 2, allowing a council meeting to be cancelled by majority vote in case of emergency or poor attendance, seemed sensible to Leslie.
“I think it’s necessary,” Leslie said. “When there’s an emergency, council members may need to be elsewhere. Later, things can go back to business as usual.”
Reach Ben Boettger at email@example.com.