Three Candidates Rival For Barriger's Council Seat

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Three Payson Town Council candidates vie to fill the vacancy created by outgoing council member George Barriger.

Mayor Barbara Brewer and the remaining five council members, minus Barriger, considered replacements.

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Councilor George Barriger

The council produced three recommendations: Jon Barber, construction superintendent; Dick Wolfe, community activist; and Andy Romance, civil engineer.

Councilor John Wilson sponsored Wolfe. He said Wolfe's knowledge of and involvement in the Town of Payson -- including stints as councilor, vice mayor and commitments to various civic organizations -- give the president of the Zane Grey Cabin Foundation a solid leadership foundation.

"I've worked with Wolfe on several different things," Wilson said. "And I know him well."

Romance found his name in the mix after Councilor Tim Fruth made his recommendation.

"He is younger, he has a wife who works for Gila County and he has two kids in the school district," Fruth said. "I felt his age group is underrepresented.

And his name isn't involved in the active political campaigns, that was important."

Romance, a 19-year Payson resident and a self-employed civil engineer, served seven years on the Green Valley Redevelopment Area Committee.

"I believe that my qualifications align with the town's needs and the time is right," he said.

Brewer mentioned Barber's name during a town council meeting in late March.

As a construction superintendent and frequenter of Payson Town Council meetings, Barber, edged out in the primary mayor's race, said he's well-acquainted with the issues facing the council and the community.

"I've been paying attention for quite a few years," Barber said. "That's a plus on my side since I already have a lot of knowledge."

Departing Councilor Barriger said he will refrain from endorsing any of the applicants.

"I think the council will select a middle-of-the-road person," Barriger said. "They have three candidates and I think they'd all do a good job."

Barriger resigned his post in March 2006 for personal reasons.

Although three names are up for consideration, the council could add to the list, said Town Manager Fred Carpenter.

The new councilor joins the council May 11, Carpenter said.

If the council can't agree, the vacancy will stay open until the panel reaches an agreement.

The council is scheduled to select a replacement, who will serve the remaining two years of Barriger's term at 5 p.m. Thursday, May 4 at Town Hall.

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