Voters in the town of Berlin will head to the polls next week to elect a mayor and a new council member. Registered voters living in Districts 1 and 2 will vote at Buckingham Presbyterian Church on Main Street and those calling District 3 and 4 home should head to the Flower Street multipurpose building.
Candidates for mayor include interim Mayor Gee Williams and challenger Rex Hailey, a former two-term mayor from 1996 to 2004. District 3 Councilman Elroy Brittingham has already been re-elected since he was unopposed. District 2 residents have a choice between Thom Gulyas, Lisa Hall and Jason Walter.
Here's The Dispatch's endorsements:
Mayor: Berlin needs Gee Williams to continue what he started when he was named interim mayor in May. This is a pivotal time for Berlin and the strong leadership style Williams has shown is needed.
In only five months, Williams has brought a new energy and approach to the mayor's office. An argument can be made he has achieved more than any other mayor in decades. Williams is a former newspaper publisher and editor and that means he knows a certain amount about a lot. That acumen, experience in running a business and background in politics has served him well in his early days as interim mayor. His achievements since being named interim mayor are noteworthy and include filling four vacant department director positions, initiating a consultant study of the electric woes facing the town, creating a position to oversee the recommendations made by that ongoing electric study and working to get Berlin back into the Main Street program. Williams deserves a vote of confidence. He is qualified and ready to keep Berlin moving ahead in challenging times.
District 2: Thom Gulyas will make an ideal small town councilman. He will be an approachable elected official and constituents can expect him to act on their behalf. He's a no-nonsense, strong-willed man with a focus on the big picture. His 20-plus years of business experience in Berlin and insider knowledge of town government affairs are unmatched by his foes in the race. He has worked with town government on a number of levels. He understands why people say Berlin is anti-business. He went through the process of building a commercial entity here. He realizes the process needs to be streamlined or the town risks turning away future business opportunities. His small business background and pragmatic approach to issues and conflict resolution make Gulyas a logical choice.