Three political newcomers won Windcrest City Council seats Nov. 6, capping another contentious election campaign.
Elsewhere, a Converse councilwoman removed months ago by colleagues is back at the dais; Schertz voters ousted a councilman; and the Cibolo electorate approved several proposed bond and charter-amendment measures, while a council member lost a seat.
Windcrest voters faced hotly contested races for the open Place 1, 2 and 3 seats. Some office seekers sought to capitalize on a wave of discontent with a trio of candidates seen as politically aligned with three outgoing councilmen.
Registered nurse Cindy Strzelecki, in her first public-office run, collected 60 percent of the vote, beating insurance agent Lou Miller for Place 2. Strzelecki succeeds incumbent James McFall.
“I am looking forward to working with Mayor (Dan) Reese and the current and new council members to move our city forward in a positive direction,” Strzelecki said.
Sherillyn Flick, also a first-timer, outpaced three others, including Bill Zulaica, to win Place 1 with 37 percent. Flick worked in real estate, and has been part of the Windcrest Lions and Women’s clubs. She replaces incumbent Gerd Jacobi.
Greg Turner, a management analyst and certified public manager, tallied 61 percent to win Place 3, succeeding Jim Shelton.
Former Councilwoman Pam Dodson became a write-in candidate after Jennifer Newman withdrew, briefly leaving Turner as the lone contestant.
Despite falling short, Dodson is optimistic about the city’s future.
“We have lots of good ideas from the new council members, so I look forward in seeing how this new council will work for our community,” she said.
Windcrest voters also OK’d two bond proposals — $7.4 million for road improvements and $2 million for new volunteer fire department equipment.
A few candidates opposed the street-repair bond, saying the city should do better when dedicating money yearly for road maintenance.
Happy with the approved bonds, Reese said voters recognized a need to fix streets and replace VFD equipment to maintain the city’s fire-insurance rating.
“We pledge to honor this task by making sure every penny is spent wisely,” he added.
Months of Windcrest political infighting came to a head in the fall campaign. Turner, Zulaica and Miller ran as a slate.
In Converse, Deborah James is returning to the council after being dismissed this past June for absenteeism. She missed several meetings due to illness.
James received nearly 60 percent of the vote against Councilwoman Nancy Droneburg, who moved from Place 4 to run for the open Place 2 seat.
In Place 4, former Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Kate Silvas toppled Joan Lindgren, a past councilwoman, with 60 percent. Silvas thanked her family, and complimented Lindgren on her campaign and public service.
“I’m honored and humbled simply to have been considered, much less chosen,” Silvas said. “I’m grateful for the honor and excited to have this opportunity.”
Marc Gilbert, former EDC board president, won a full two-year term as the Place 6 representative, defeating Billy Ortiz, an Army veteran and cybersecurity expert, with nearly 54 percent.
In Cibolo, Mark Allen, a business-systems analyst and small-business owner, upset District 5 Councilman and Scholastic books-fair manager Jim Russell, with 61 percent.
Allen, a community activist in the Schertz/Cibolo area, criticized the city’s toll-road plan to extend FM 1103 to Interstate 10.
District 1 Councilwoman Jennifer Schultes, a systems administrator, thwarted a challenge from Ben Davila Jr., a small-business owner, with 59 percent.
District 4 Councilman Ted Gibbs, a retiree, was re-elected in a three-way race with 51 percent. He downed network engineer Christopher Schlein and program manager Chad Jones.
Defense contractor and Air Force retiree Tim Woliver garnered roughly two out of every three ballots cast to claim the open District 6 post against former Councilman Dick Hetzel.
Cibolo voters also approved four bond proposals and 15 city-charter amendments.
The bonds support improvements to local infrastructure, parks and recreation, the City Hall annex and public-works building, and public-safety communications equipment.
In Schertz, Tim Brown, EDC board president, toppled Place 7 Councilman Bert Crawford, a Navy retiree, with 57 percent.
Thanking supporters, Brown said some council actions, such as the dismissal of City Manager John Kessel, remains a sore subject with many residents.
“I look forward to working with my fellow council members, and I am sure there are great things in store for Schertz’s future,” he added.
Substitute teacher Allison Heyward amassed 56 percent to top clinical-education director Chelsea Skrobarcek for the Place 6 seat.
Heyward described her community as one where many people care for each other despite different ideas about growth.
“I will strive to represent all residents with transparency and boldness,” she added.