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Sterling Heights

Sterling may see first-ever mayoral primary

May 13, 2009

Three to vie for mayor; 11 file for six council seats

STERLING HEIGHTS — Sterling Heights may experience its first-ever mayoral primary election this year, after two challengers signaled intentions to run against incumbent Mayor Richard Notte.

As of the May 12 filing deadline, Teresa Bil and David Magliulo had turned in petitions to take on Notte, who has occupied the council’s top seat since 1993.

City Clerk Walter Blessed emphasized that the candidacies won’t be official until 4 p.m. May 15, after his office verifies the petition signatures and the withdrawal deadline passes.

According to Blessed, the last time the volume of contenders for city seats necessitated a primary, period, was in the early 1990s, and there has never been a primary needed for mayor.

Up until the mid-1990s, the council chose a mayor from within its ranks in lieu of the current system, which allows voters to elect a mayor separately from the other six council members, he said.

If any of the three mayoral candidates drop out or are disqualified, a primary will not be necessary, he added.

The measure will not be needed to whittle the field of hopefuls for City Council, where 11 people are vying for six seats. The filing of 13 or more candidates would have prompted a primary, said Blessed.

Five incumbents — Mayor Pro Tem Deanna Koski and current council members Yvonne Kniaz, Joseph Romano, Maria Schmidt and Barbara Ziarko — are seeking re-election. Councilman Richard Bracci indicated earlier this year that he would not attempt to reclaim his seat.

Six others have also filed to run: Ben Ancona, Robert Ervin, James Hunt, John Stampor, Michael Taylor and Brent Turner.

To appear on the ballot, individuals had to collect signatures representing a minimum of 1 percent of Sterling’s total registered voters. As the city had 84,082 voters during its last general election, prospective candidates needed to secure at least 841 signatures.

Contenders also must have resided in Sterling for at least a year prior to the primary date, be a qualified and registered voter in the community, and not be in default to the city.

If the three mayoral petitions pass muster, the primary election will be Aug. 4. The general election is Nov. 3.


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