JAMESTOWN – For the first time in a dozen years the Jamestown City Council will be controlled by the Republican Party.
On Monday, the Chautauqua County Board of Elections counted absentee and affidavit ballots for several close races from the Nov. 5 elections, including the Ward 1 Jamestown city Council Race.
On Election night incumbent Brent Sheldon (R) had a slim, seven-vote lead over Democratic challenger Tim Smeal with 70 absentees to be counted. After the absentee vote took place Monday afternoon, it was determined that Sheldon would hold his seat on the council, besting Smeal by a total 19 votes.
With Sheldon’s victory, the Republican Party now has a 5-4 majority over the Democratic Party. The other Republicans on the council will be ranking councilman Tony Dolce (Ward 2), long-time councilwoman Kim Ecklund (At Large) and newcomers Jeff Russell (At Large) and Grant Olson (Ward 5).
Democrats on the city council will be current council president Marie Carrubba (Ward 4) along with council members Victoria James (Ward 3), Tom Nelson (Ward 6) and Tamu Graham-Reinhardt (At Large).
Given his seniority and his recent history of serving as president pro tempore whenever the current council president is absent from meetings, it’s likely Dolce will become council president on January 1. One of the main duties of the council president is appointing chairs to the four city council committees, as well as presiding over both work sessions and monthly voting sessions.
On Nov. 5, local attorney and Democrat Eddie Sundquist was elected mayor with 49.5% of the total votes cast. Sundquist will now have to work with a Republican-controlled city council in order to achieve any of his objectives and priorities as mayor, in addition to getting any appointments to various boards and agencies approved by a majority of the council members.
According to Dolce, the city council Republicans will caucus after the Thanksgiving holiday to determine who will be nominated as council president, along with who will be serving as chairs of the various city council committees.