Sicard challenges for mayor

INDEPENDENCE -- John McArdle will run for a fifth term as mayor of Independence this November.

INDEPENDENCE -- John McArdle will run for a fifth term as mayor of Independence this November.

This will be the first election since 2000, however, that the incumbent McArdle will be challenged for that seat.

His opponent is Kevin Sicard, a former labor economist and current member of the Central School Board.

Sicard, 47, said he decided to make a bid for the mayor's position because there are community issues that the current leadership doesn't address.

"The mayor is more interested in attracting businesses and new housing than the needs and desires of the common person," he said.

Sicard was raised in Tauton, Mass. He came to Oregon in the late 1970s and earned degrees from the University of Oregon and Central Oregon Community College.

Sicard served as a social services planner in Cuagus, Puerto Rico, in 1991, and worked as an analyst for the Oregon Department of Employment from 1996 to 2003.

Among the more ambitious issues on Sicard's platform: * Creating a citizen review board that would have oversight of the Independence Police Department.

* Encouraging local leaders to give serious thought about consolidating Independence and Monmouth into one city.

"It makes sense, they're so close together," he said. "Why do we need two police chiefs, two city managers...when one efficient adminstration could manage these things efficiently?"

Sicard said he would like to debate McArdle weekly until the Nov. 7. And he said that regardless of the outcome of the election, "I'll win either way."

"This forces McArdle to address issues he hasn't, and should have when he became mayor."

McArdle said he was looking forward to speaking with community members about their concerns, but declined to comment on his challenger and the race.

Asked whether he would be willing to debate Sicard, McArdle said "I haven't even given that a thought. The most important thing will be talking to residents at their doorsteps."

Sicard's run for mayor follows a well-publicized arrest earlier this year in which he allegedly harassed Independence police officers over the phone and scuffled with them as he was being carted off to jail.

Sicard was shot several times with tasers during the incident.

He has pleaded not guilty to several criminal counts, including assaulting a safety officer, a class C felony. His trial is scheduled for Sept. 27.

Sicard said police provoked the ordeal and that it should have no bearing on his ability to handle the job of mayor.

Three city council seats are also up for grabs this year.

Tim Hinds, a Monmouth police officer and councilor for the past eight years, will be challanged by Kelly Wilson, a retired military and commercial pilot.

Marilyn Morton and interim councilor Diana Lindskog are both running unopposed for four-year terms.


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