York, McConnells to have contested council races on Nov. 5

news@enquirerherald.comSeptember 11, 2013 

— The Nov. 5 municipal elections in York County will include two contested races for the York City Council and one for the McConnells Town Council, county elections officials said.

The formal election filing period for municipal races across York County — including those in York, Clover, McConnells, Sharon, Smyrna and Hickory Grove — ended Friday.

All the Western York County municipal elections are done by at-large voting except in York, where council members are elected in districts and only the mayor is elected at large.

On the York City Council, John Eakin is challenging longtime incumbent councilman Charles Johnson in the District 1 race. In the council’s District 6 race, Johnny McCoy Sr. and John Shiflet are seeking election to the seat held by Mark Boley, who did not seek re-election.

Incumbent Denise Lowry is unopposed in York’s District 5 race, the only other council seat up for election this year in York. The mayor and Districts 2, 3 and 4 are not up for election.

Shiflet, 66, retired director of York Place, the Episcopal Home for Children, said he wanted to be more involved in the community. His interests include opportunities for economic development and improving public safety, he said.

“I feel there’s opportunities we have in this beautiful little city and perhaps we just need to figure out ways to let people know what a good thing we have,” Shiflet said. “The city of York has an awful lot of potential. I hope we can gather enough people together to figure out opportunities that we might not have imagined.”

Shiflet said he served a decade on the McCormick school board while living in McCormick County and also served in an appointed post on the S.C. State Board of Education.

His opponent, McCoy, was out of town and not available for comment this week. McCoy served one four-year term in the District 6 seat before he was defeated by Boley by a three-vote margin in 2009.

Eakin, a 35-year-old disabled resident who has approached the council about the need to rehabilitate derelict housing, is seeking election to the District 1 seat held by Johnson.

Eakin, a 1996 Clover High grad who has lived in York since 2005, said council members have only discussed tearing down poor housing. “Tearing things down and creating empty lots does not fix the problem,” he said.

Eakin said he is concerned about public safety, including the need for more city police and firefighters, the lack of sidewalks in poorer neighborhoods and directing all the growth to the S.C. 5 Bypass instead of other areas.

“I would like to see York focus on York,” Eakin said. “I would like to see us get back the county services we have lost in the last 20 years. We’ve lost them to Rock Hill.”

He added: “I just feel like it’s time for some new ideas, to stop doing things the same old way, because the same old way doesn’t work,” he said. “We need people who want to go out there and sell our city, make people want to come here.”

Other races

The only other contested municipal election in Western York County is in McConnells, where five candidates are vying for election to the four Town Council seats.

The five McConnells council candidates are incumbents Bill Covington, William Nance and Kenneth Patrick, Larry Plyler, who has previously served on the council, and a newcomer, Hugh J. Harshaw III. Councilman Daniel Harshaw resigned because he has moved. John Harshaw Jr., the father of Hugh Harshaw, is seeking re-election as mayor.

The Smyrna council election, with four open seats, features a council newcomer, Beatrice Gaines, and three incumbents, Robert Faulkner, Hershel Gaines and Philip Jackson. Mayor William C. Faulkner is seeking re-election.

In the Clover and Hickory Grove Town Council elections, the mayors and all incumbent council members have filed for re-election with no challengers.

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