Some days it seems that activities you assume will be straight forward and unexciting turn out to be the most challenging and create the most problems. The election of City officials which was held last Saturday was certainly one such event. After a very uneventful early voting period for two weeks prior to Election Day, Saturday turned into a exercise in crowd control at times. In addition to the two City Commissioner positions up for election, many County residents also came to the City offices to cast votes in the contested Hickory Underground Water District election. At the end of the vote counting and voter verification there was a good bit of confusion and late Saturday night it was decided to announce the election as “undeclared” and reconsider verifying the multiple voter’s lists after some rest and with a clear set of eyes. Bottom line was that there was never any consideration of election fraud or concern about the actual ballots and their count, nor was there any worry about election judges or clerks not doing a proper job. There was just a reasonable margin of doubt that all of the numbers and voters added up properly and it was impossible to certify the election results as required by law.
After several hours of overtime by election officials on Sunday and Monday spent reconciling the voter lists and voter signature pages for the two City Districts as well as the HUWD, it was determined that the voters lists and signatures could indeed be reconciled and the election results would stand as originally counted. There were never any questions about the early voting count, and for election day some of the signatures were on the wrong sign-in sheet. At the end of all the sorting and counting, the verified voters matched the number of ballots cast in each of the City Districts and Monday afternoon we could announce the results and declare winners of the elections. There is still the final step in any municipal election being the canvassing of the election by the Commission on Monday, May 21, and unless there is an additional problem, then the new members of the Commission will be issued a Certificate of Election and administered the Oath of Office. At that point the City Commission will consist of two new members, being Sabin Nelson and John Gammill, who will join Anna Velez and William Beaty in assisting me as we guide the City of Mason for the next couple of years.
While congratulations are in order to our newly elected Commissioners, we also owe a hearty “Thank You” to the two incumbent Commissioners, Bob Vacek and Tammy Gardner, who have served the City well and set the course for much of the progress we are now seeing. When I started a Mayor seven years ago I had no idea how complex the business of the City of Mason really is, and anyone who is willing to serve the public and tackle the job of guiding our town on a daily and monthly basis is due a pat on the back and sincere thanks. Every month each Commissioner is expected to understand and reach decisions about a wide variety of issues and projects as well as providing oversight and financial review of a budget that has topped five million dollars every year for the past several years. Our goal at the City of Mason is to positively respond to your suggests and concerns and continue to maintain and improve the services and benefits that you have come to expect from the best hometown in Central Texas.
A special event on Sunday afternoon highlights just one more reason we can be very proud of our town and the citizens that we can call “neighbor”. Boy Scout Troop 281 has been a part of Mason for many years stretching back for decades, and this past Sunday they honored six outstanding young men with the presentation of their Eagle Scout awards. As an Eagle Scout myself, I have a great deal of respect and admiration for every boy who sticks to the Scouting program and meets all of the requirements for Eagle and I was proud of each young man and pleased for each parent there for their accomplishment. If you see any of these boys in the next few weeks, be sure and congratulate for a job well done: Tyler Chew, Jorge Morales, Albino Cedillo, Bode Adams, T.J. Schovajsa and Dyllan Hofmann. These men represent the very best of our young adults and our community and are just one more reason we can be so proud to call Mason home.
Your friend and neighbor, Brent Hinckley