DeSoto Calls Special Election For Mayor and Place 7

Kenzie Moore III
Kenzie Moore III is running for Mayor in the February 2nd election. His Place 7 position will be open and citizens in that district are urged to file by December 2nd. Photo courtesy City of DeSoto

Filing deadline for those wishing to run is December 2

Brandon Wright introduced the meeting recalling in last week’s meeting council discussing anyone wishing to run for mayor should do so soon so their position could be put up for election as well.

Wright related that Kenzie Moore III has followed through on this and has filed for election as Mayor from his position representing District 7. He then asked if council had any further discussion.

City Attorney Joe Gorfida then related that Council has an ordinance in front of them to amend last week’s ordinance calling for the new election for Mayor. He said should council not wish to put place 7 on the ballot they could appoint someone to fill Place 7, but only if they desired to fill the position that way rather than through the February 2nd election. He concluded that today (Monday, November 23) would be the final day the ordinance could be changed to put Place 7 on the ballot.

Mayor Pro-Tem Moore stated, “My prayer is that by February 2nd we will have a full council. I want to put that out there so that if someone wants to run for Place 7, that is out there for them … I don’t want to wait till the end. I want to give our citizens who may have an interest to be able to run for my seat while I’m running for the Mayor so that when we come together it will be all of us, not just a part of us.”

How To Address The Vacancy In Place 7

Mr. Gorfida reminded citizens and council, that whomever is elected in February will only hold the position through the coming general election in May.

Councilmember Andre Byrd Sr. asked City Manager Wright and Attorney Gorfida to brief council on the possibility of an appointment to the council Place 7 position rather than adding it to the election.

Gorfida replied that through recent charter elections citizens did allow for an appointment to an open council position (but not for Mayor). He said council needed to make a decision amongst themselves about an appointment or a special election. In this instance, the appointment would have to be from within District 7.

Councilmember Quarles asked why a Tuesday was chosen for the election rather than the normal Saturday. City Secretary Morris-Perkins replied that it was because that was the date Glenn Heights was told they must have their election and to save money (over $30,000) DeSoto would be piggybacking on that election.

Quarles expressed that she worried that citizens might be confused because the Place 7 position would be up for election twice within a very short period of time – February and then again in May. She feels that a procedure for appointment needs to be in place and this situation calls for establishing that procedure.

Let The Voters Decide

Councilmember Dinah Marks said she is in favor of putting Place 7 on the ballot and does not feel they should appoint someone. She said an appointment takes the decision away from the voters and they should be the ones to decide.

Councilmember Byrd said he tended to agree with Marks that it should be up to the voters. He continued since there is currently no procedure in place for an appointment, such a procedure should be established for the future.

Councilmember Kay Brown Patrick said she was in favor of appointment, agreeing with councilmember Quarles.

Councilmember Nicole Raphiel said her position was to allow democracy to continue … I lend myself towards the position of Councilmember Marks.” She said the February 2nd election is happening without a doubt and it costs no more to add the council position to the election, it should be done by election.

Marks replied “we would be doing the citizens a disservice by not allowing them to make the decision … if someone does not come forward to run for the position, that would be different, but if (the opportunity to vote) presents itself, we should allow the voters to choose.

“I would prefer to let the citizens elect …,” Mayor Pro-Tem Moore added. He said he preferred to see if someone is interested and comes forward to run. Then, if no one did, council could consider an appointment.

“If we do an appointment it is giving credibility to that person … if we open it up to an election we let the citizens decide,” stated Moore. Marks again emphasized she is in favor of sending it to the voters.

Mayor Pro-Tem said it was time for a motion. Ms. Morris-Perkins read the amendment to the ordinance that was passed last week ordering the election of the Mayor. There was a bit more discussion before Nicole Raphiel moved to add the Place 7 position to the February election. Councilmember Marks seconded the motion.

February Election-Two Positions On The Ballot

Voting in favor were Moore, Raphiel, Byrd and Marks. Voting against were Patrick and Quarles. Therefore, the February election will be for two positions, Mayor and Place 7.

“What we are saying here is we want to give the citizens the right to make this decision,” Mayor Pro-Tem Kenzie Moore concluded.

Citizens wanting to file for Mayor or Place 7 must file by December 2nd. Early voting will begin Wednesday, January 20th and will end on January 29th. People can start filing to run for either position may file immediately. See the City Secretary Kisha Morris-Perkins at 972-230-9646 for information on filing.

To learn more about this special election including how to apply to run please visit the city website at—Special-Election

AND … Happy Birthday to Mayor Pro-Tem Kenzie Moore III !