Great Falls to head to the polls Tuesday for city election

GREAT FALLS -- Great Falls' municipal election is Tuesday, with four seats on the Town Council being decided. One of the races is for an unexpired term.

A dozen candidates are running, including a former mayor, a school resource officer and the Wiccan priestess who sued the town in 2001, claiming Great Falls violated church and state separation by using the name Jesus Christ in prayers.

The only current council member defending her post is Maxine Wood, who was elected in a 2006 special election.

Current council member Earl Taylor did not file for re-election. His brother, former council member Jack Taylor, and former council member Toby Gladden gave up their seats in December.

Jack Taylor's term doesn't expire until 2010.

The resignations came after the council's 4-3 vote to terminate town clerk Julie Blackwell on Sept. 25, a day after she accused four council members of holding an illegal meeting.

Gladden and Jack Taylor, along with Earl Taylor and Wood, supported the decision to fire Blackwell. This was the same quartet of members Blackwell confronted about the alleged illegal meeting at Town Hall.

After a public outcry over Blackwell's firing, the council unanimously voted to bring her back a few weeks later.

Town council members serve four-year terms and are paid $2,100 per year.

Here's a breakdown of the election:

• When: The polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tuesday

• Where: Voting will take place at the following sites:

Great Falls 1, 2 & 3: War Memorial Building on Dearborn Street

Beckhamville: Trinity Baptist Church on Chester Avenue

• Who: These are the candidates:

Joyce Autry

Randy Beckham

Gene Franklin

Debra Kelly

Marcus T. Ray

Jarrod Skinner

Darryl B. Washington

Jimmy Williams

Maxine Wood (i)

Donna Abernathy Bryan*

Todd Smith*

Darla Kaye Wynne*

* Denotes candidate for unexpired term

(i) Denotes incumbent