After 36 years, Charlie Fetner is bringing to a close his service on Forest Acres City Council, producing the largest field of candidates in recent memory for the spring election.
Six people, including an incumbent, are running citywide for two available seats. The non-partisan election is May 14.
Here are the candidates, in alphabetical order:
• Ralph Bailey, 63, retired from S.C. National Guard as commander of the McCrady Training Center and sells real estate in a family business.
• Jack Cantey, 48, who works for a general contractor
• Albert Epstein, 34, an executive with a filing-systems company
• Paige B. George, 33, a lawyer
• Roy A. “Beau” Powell Jr., 64, a homebuilder and member of the Forest Acres Planning Commission
• Shell Suber, 78, who retired last month from practicing law
“Somebody asked me what are the issues, and the issues are six people running and there are two seats,” said Suber, who’s served on the council for 40 years.
“It’s been a low-key thing. We don’t have any controversies or any issues going on right now. That’s good, that’s what I like about it: Keep things on an even keel,” Suber said.
The five-member City Council guides public life in the suburban Richland County community of 10,500 people.
While efforts to reach him Tuesday afternoon were unsuccessful, city manager Mark Williams said Fetner’s health was too poor to offer for re-election this year. Fetner has not attended a council meeting in several months.
Powell was among those who said Fetner’s retirement generated interest in this year’s municipal election.
“I wouldn’t throw my hat in the ring if Charlie Fetner was running,” he said. “Charlie is a legend in Forest Acres. It’s very sad he’s not running, but that’s given an opportunity to a lot of people.”
Council members serve four-year terms and will be paid $6,600 a year starting July 1.
Reach Hinshaw at (803) 771-8641.