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Challengers emerge in mayoral race

Mayoral candidates Will Peddy (top) and Michael Berry (above) -
Mayoral candidates Will Peddy (top) and Michael Berry (above)
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Berry, Peddy cite bad decisions and poor management at City Hall.

Two challengers to incumbent Mayor Darlene Kordonowy emerged on the first day of candidate filing, both pledging to put the city in better financial order.

The entry of Michaels C. “Michael” Berry, a Winslow certified public accountant, and William K. “Will” Peddy, the city’s code enforcement officer, into the mayoral race guarantees a September primary to winnow the field before November.

“I am concerned about the state of finance with the city. I think it’s making bad decisions,” said Michael Berry, 54, a Winslow certified public accountant.

Berry pointed to the city audit, chronically late until a recent reshuffling of the finance department, and public money wasted on litigation.

A self-employed CPA, financial planner and real estate broker, Berry doesn’t like the city using revenue bonds, which can pass without a citizen vote, to finance utility extensions and turn up as higher utility costs to users.

Berry said he would rather see the use of general obligation bonds that require a vote by the citizens, and are paid off through property taxes, which are tax-deductible.

Berry said he would move all City Council meetings to Saturday mornings, and have them finish before noon. If elected, he would also continue his CPA work, as he said the mayor’s job is only part time.

“I’m not doing this because I need a job,” Berry said. “I’m doing it because I think there’s a job that needs to be done.”

Peddy, 55, currently the city’s code enforcement officer, also calls for better city management.

“I think a lot needs to be changed,” Peddy said. “It’s poorly managed. I also think the community doesn’t know the city is badly managed.”

With nearly eight years as code enforcement officer and island resident, Peddy said his inside knowledge of City Hall’s workings gives him a better view into how things can be improved, but in his current position, there isn’t a lot he can change.

Squandering of tax dollars by the city and transparency are two other areas he would like to tackle. One transparency issue he cited from his current post is that people who report code violations remain anonymous to the accused.

“I think everyone has a right to know who’s accusing them,” Peddy said.

Figuring that he has about 10 years until he will retire, Peddy wants to put his experience to good use.

“I don’t want to sit back and not be able to help serve the community better,” he said.

It’s the second time in three mayoral races that the city’s top code enforcement officer has sought the city’s highest elected office. In 1997, then-enforcement officer Jeff Eckley earned 9 percent in a six-way mayoral primary that advanced Dwight Sutton and Jack MacArthur. Sutton carried the general election that November.

Peddy’s campaign manager is Jim Olsen, a Fort Ward resident and conservative activist. The “Will Power Express” campaign kicks off with a rally from 5-7 p.m. July 29 at the Madison Avenue Retirement Center.

Berry may be contacted at 842-2981, but said he will not have a campaign manager, and may not be reachable while on vacation for six weeks from Aug. 12 through Sept. 27.

Candidate filing continues through 4:30 p.m. Friday at the elections office in Port Orchard.

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Who’s in...so far

Candidates to declare for office Monday include:

Mayor: Darlene Kordonowy (inc.), William K. Peddy, Michaels C. Berry

City council: Debbie Vancil (inc., N. Ward District 7);

School board: Mary Curtis (inc., District 5)

Park board: Kirk Robinson (inc., position 5)

Filing continues through the end of the week. Updates are posted twice a day at www.kitsapgov.com.

Community Events, April 2014

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