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There will be two new faces on the Sedona City Council come this fall.

In one of the closest races in recent memory, former Sedona police chief Joe Vernier bested a field of four for the three open seats on council as he garnered 1,255 votes during the Tuesday, Aug. 30, primary election. At press time he was followed by former Planning & Zoning commissioner John Currivan at 1,133, incumbent Vice Mayor John Martinez with 1,127 votes and incumbent Councilwoman Jessica Williamson at 1,035.


Because all four candidates exceeded the magic number of 759 — as set forth by a state formula — a runoff will not be necessary and the top three vote getters will fill the three open council seats. “No determination of election will be made until all ballots are processed and we receive the unofficial final results from Coconino and Yavapai counties,” Sedona City Clerk Susan Irvine said Wednesday afternoon.

The candidates were asked their thoughts on the election results:

  • Vernier: “The level of support shown for my candidacy by the voters in Sedona is something that I will always be grateful for. I look forward to serving the people in Sedona once again.
    “I would like to congratulate the other candidates and incumbents who were successfully elected to office. I look forward to serving and working with everyone on council in the near future.”
  • Currivan: “I want to thank the people of Sedona for giving me this opportunity. I am delighted to have come in second in a field of very worthy candidates. I ran on a platform that stressed the importance of listening to the will of the people, and it appears that the voters agreed. I look forward to working with the new City Council to address the myriad of pressing issues facing the city.”
  • Martinez: “I am very pleased that I have been re-elected. It is nice to know that the residents have confidence in me to tackle current and future city challenges and opportunities, such as a new revenue generation source. Fiscal sustainability will continue to be my number one priority. I have enjoyed working with city staff, council and the residents during the last four years and look forward to the next four. I would like to thank all of my friends for their support and contributions that helped me achieve this goal.
    “However, I must say that I am extreme disappointed in the low voter turnout. Thousands of men and women have lost their lives defending this country so that all of its citizens would have the right to vote in a free election. Yet less than 30 percent submitted a ballot. This is an embarrassment.”
  • Williamson: “I am proud of what I accomplished on City Council and wish everyone the best.”

In the two-year term race between incumbent Tom Lamkin [who was appointed earlier this year] and Gerhard Mayer, Lamkin won, garnering 892 votes to Mayer’s 795.

“I am humbled that the people of Sedona have elected me to the two-year seat on council,” Lamkin said. “I gratefully appreciate their support and thank everyone who voted for me. I also want to thank the volunteers at the polls as well as Gerhard Mayer for his willingness to run for election. I look forward to serving the residents of Sedona and promise to represent them to the best of my ability.”

Mayer was gracious in defeat.

“I would like to thank all citizens who voted for me,” he said. “I congratulate Tom to his re-election. I hope that with two new members to the council, who promised to listen, other members of the council will start listening, too. A message to all elected officials, do not forget that the government should not control the people but the people should control the government.”
Mayor Sandy Moriarty ran unopposed while receiving 1,384 votes.

She said she’s truly enjoyed being mayor in the city she’s called home for nearly 40 years. But, she knows the council has a lot on its plate as it enters the next two years.

“I hope the council can agree on what to do to mitigate traffic issues, since the comprehensive study will be completed,” she said. “It will not be easy, quick or inexpensive, and will require careful and thorough consideration as well as both short and longterm action.

“We also have several Community Focus Area Plans to complete as well as the update to the Land Development Code. As we continue to recover from the recession, there will always be emerging issues to deal with, and our Community Plan asks that we keep sustainability and the beautiful environment that drew all of us to Sedona at the forefront.”

As for the four-year race, Moriarty added, “It appears that the turnout was very low. The four-year race was very close, and is likely still too close to call, but I believe we will continue to work together as a council and a community to carefully consider all sides of every issue to do what is best for all of Sedona. I look forward to setting our priorities, and we have an excellent staff to carry forward the policies we put in place.”

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