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Qualifying ends for Morrow special election

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Three people, who have either worked for the City of Morrow at some point or have volunteered for city-sponsored events and programs, have qualified to run for a seat on the City Council, Morrow officials said on Friday.

Friday was the last day for candidates to qualify for the March 16 special election to fill the unexpired term of former City Councilman Charles Sorrow. Sorrow resigned from office in January due to health concerns. His term is set to expire in November 2011.

By early Friday afternoon, Morrow Downtown Development Authority Executive Director John Lampl and former city Property Manager Jeanell Bridges had qualified to run for the seat, according to City Clerk Evyonne Browning. A third person, retiree James "Jim" Duckworth, also qualified for the special election, Morrow Mayor Jim Millirons said later on Friday.

Bridges, 68, and Duckworth, 71, both said they are seeking the seat out of love and concern for the city they call home. Lampl, who was Morrow's city manager for nearly 11 years until last summer, could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

"After working for the city, I enjoy it, and I would like to continue being involved in what goes on here," said Bridges, who said she has lived in Morrow for 15 years.

"I think it's about time for some changes in the city," said Duckworth, who said he has lived in the city for 40 years.

Bridges and Duckworth each said there are issues in Morrow they want to see addressed, ranging from the involvement of residents in city affairs, to the way city leaders appear to conduct business.

Bridges was the city's property manager from 2005 to 2008, and is also a former secretary for the city's Downtown Development Authority. From 2003 to 2005, she was an information specialist/event planner in the city's tourism center. She is the mother of three children, and has seven grandchildren.

She said she also volunteers at the Good Shepherd Clinic, and is a member of the Southlake Kiwanis Club as well as serving as the president of the Northridge Condominiums Homeowners Association.

Bridges said her experience as a past employee of the city makes her qualified to serve on the City Council. She also said she is a "woman of ethics, and a woman of value." She said that if elected, she would like to improve communication between the city and its residents, as well as citizen involvement in city affairs. One way to do that, she said, is to meet citizens face to face whenever possible.

"I'd like to look out from my seat on the council and see citizens with some interest in participating in what's going on in the city," Bridges said. "I love this city."

Duckworth said he is a longtime audience member at City Council meetings, and has volunteered at several events hosted by the city. He said he has also served on the city's Community Emergency Response Team, and participates in a community watch program sponsored by the Morrow Police Department.

Duckworth said he believes he is qualified to serve on the City Council because "I've got a lot of knowledge of how the city works, and I'm involved in the city." He said he believes city leaders need to be open with residents about city affairs. One way to do that, he said, is for city leaders to discuss items on the City Council's agenda in public before a vote is taken.

"There have been a lot of times where they've just walked out and cast their votes about something," Duckworth said. "I would like to see more openness on the City Council."