Victoria Councilman Paul Polasek vacates seat to run for mayor
By BY MELISSA CROWE - MCROWE@VICAD.COM
Feb. 1, 2013 at 5:04 p.m.
Updated Feb. 1, 2013 at 8:02 p.m.
In the third day of filing for Victoria City Council, a competitive mayoral race is starting to take shape.
So far, the race features the two-term incumbent Mayor Will Armstrong; a 22-year-old political newcomer, Richard Andrew Deases; and a three-term councilman, Paul Polasek.
Polasek, 47, said the decision has been on his mind the past two years. From 2010 to 2012, Polasek served as mayor pro-tem.
"I don't have any particular problems with our current mayor. I think he's done a good job," Polasek said. "I feel it's time for me to step up."
Although Polasek and Armstrong stay relatively in agreement, Polasek said he wants to improve communication with the public, address infrastructure needs and ensure the new wastewater treatment plant stays on schedule, as well as start planning for future police force growth.
Armstrong filed for office Wednesday, and Deases filed Thursday.
City Secretary Scarlet Swoboda said, "In essence, he (Polasek) will have to resign from his position as councilman."
However, Polasek will continue representing District 3 until the May 11 election, she said.
A special election for District 3 will be the same day. Before candidates can file for that vacancy, the council must first order a special election, which will likely occur at the Feb. 19 meeting, Swoboda said.
That filing period would last through March 11 instead of March 1, when filing for mayor, Super District 5 and Super District 6 closes.
Polasek said one of his concerns was avoiding incurring additional expenses in order to fill his vacant seat.
"Hopefully, some good choices will come up," he said. "I either move over, or I move out."
Armstrong said Polasek called Friday to say he joined the race.
"Paul and I have been friends for a long time, and we've talked about this," Armstrong said. "I wasn't surprised because it had been in the mill for quite some time in his mind."
Armstrong said he holds Polasek in high regard.
"If I get elected, I'm going to serve his interest," Armstrong said. "If he gets elected, I trust he will serve my interest."
Armstrong said this is his final run for office.
Councilman Tom Halepaska, 63, also filed for re-election Friday.
He said he considers it a civic duty.
"The voters have entrusted me with this office," he said. "I'll try again and do one more term."
Halepaska was first elected to represent Super District 6 in 2004. Since then, he has served three consecutive three-year terms.
"I try to address the issues - get all the facts, work through them, reach a consensus and go from there," he said. "You have to look for opportunities to make things better without busting your budget."
He said every decision comes down to priorities. Although there is never enough ability to serve all the needs, Halepaska said the goal is to prioritize the toughest ones that need to be addressed first.
"The council as a whole works through priorities together," Halepaska said.