Bay Roberts mayor to face chal­lenge

Po­lit­i­cal up­start Ge­off Sey­mour seek­ing to oust Philip Wood from top post

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NICHOLAS MERCER THE COM­PASS

For the first time in a dozen years, vot­ers in Bay Roberts will have a choice in who oc­cu­pies the town’s top elected post.

In­cum­bent Mayor Philip Wood i s be­ing chal­lenged by new­comer Ge­off Sey­mour, with vot­ers go­ing to the polls on Sept. 24.

Like many larger towns, Bay Roberts has a sep­a­rate bal­lot for mayor, while the six other at­large seats are also up for grabs, with nine can­di­dates, in­clud­ing three in­cum­bents, in the hunt.

But this elec­tion will fea­ture some added f lair, since it will mark the first time since 2001 that more than one can­di­date will vie for the mayor’s chair.

In that elec­tion, then mayor Wil­bur Sparkes de­feated chal­lenger Ge­orge Sey­mour. In the elec­tions that fol­lowed, for­mer mayor Glenn Lit­tle­john was un­con­tested. Lit­tle­john left of­fice in 2011, and is now the MHA for Port de Grave.

Wood, who was deputy mayor at the time, was se­lected mayor by his coun­cil col­leagues.

Ge­off Sey­mour, a teacher at Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate and ac­tive vol­un­teer in the town’s recre­ation com­mu­nity, f eels that he has some­thing to of­fer Bay Roberts.

“I’ve got my own ideas of where the town should be head­ing, and I ’d like the op­por­tu­nity to put those ideas into ef­fect,” he said.

This is Sey­mour’s first foray into elected pol­i­tics, and some may ques­tion his route, go­ing di­rectly for the top post. But Sey­mour feels it’s an ad­van­tage.

“I’m look­ing at this as I’m com- ing in fresh, no ties to any­one,” he said.

Sey­mour has been an out­spo­ken critic of the cur­rent coun­cil, and has writ­ten sev­eral let­ters to the edi­tor. He has ac­tively been cam­paign­ing, and be­lieves he can garner enough sup­port to up­end Wood, who is a re­tired teacher and school ad­min­is­tra­tor.

“I’ve got­ten a pos­i­tive re­sponse wher­ever I’ve men­tioned it,” Sey­mour said.

In an­other unique twist, Sey- mour is the son of cur­rent deputy mayor and long­time coun­cil mem­ber Bill Sey­mour, who is also seek­ing re-elec­tion.

Wood is wel­com­ing the chal­lenge.

“I ’m look­ing for­ward to the up­com­ing cam­paign,” he said. “It gives you the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to get out and speak to res­i­dents.”

Wood said he has en­joyed his two years as mayor in Bay Roberts.

“I’d cer­tainly like to fin­ish off some of the projects that we’ve started,” he said.

Wood said he has re­ceived “lots of en­cour­age­ment” through­out the com­mu­nity.

“It’s an ex­cit­ing time and I’m up for the chal­lenge,” he said.

Mean­while, with three cur­rent mem­bers — Clarence Mercer, Melvin Walsh and Ger­ald Green­land — re­tir­ing, there’s sure to be a sig­nif­i­cant shake-up around the coun­cil ta­ble.

Also seek­ing re- elec­tion are coun­cil­lors Wal­ter Yet­man and Wade Oates, while the fol­low­ing is a list of chal­lengers: Hay­ward But­ler, Charlene Dawe-Roach, Ger­ald Fen­nemore, Dean Franey, Ge­orge Sim­mons and Ge­orge War­ford.

Photo by Nicholas Mercer/The Com­pass Com­pass file photo

Bay Roberts Mayor Philip Wood will have a fight on his hands to re­tain the may­oral po­si­tion.

For the fist time in more than a decade there will be a race for mayor in the Town of Bay Roberts. Ge­off Sey­mour is chal­leng­ing cur­rent Mayor Philip Wood for the chain of of­fice. Ge­off Sey­mour is shown here sub­mit­ting his nom­i­na­tion pa­pers last week. In the back­ground is Ge­off’s fa­ther, Deputy Mayor Bill Sey­mour.

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