Before the two latest members of the Jamestown City Council get started with their new jobs in January, they've already been through a political challenge.
On Monday, Nov. 18, both candidates went through the nerve-wracking process of watching absentee ballots being opened following Election Day on Nov. 5. Tamara Dickey, who was elected to represent Ward 3, had the slimmest of leads by only three votes over her challenger Regina Brackman prior to absentee ballots being counted. Brent Sheldon, who was elected to Ward 1, had a more comfortable lead of 28 over Tara Hall, but there were still 72 absentee ballots left to be counted.
When the absentee ballot counting was over, Dickey kept her lead by extending it three more votes to win 233-227. Sheldon kept his lead, even though it shrank, after the absentee ballots were counted to win 356-344.
''I was relieved, and very thankful to the Third Ward residents for having their confidence in me,'' Dickey said.
Dickey said the process of watching the absentee ballots being open was an interesting, new experience for her.
''I said, 'Wow' a couple times,'' she said about the process.
Sheldon said with the lead going into the count, he was optimistic about his chances.
''I felt confident going into the count,'' he said. ''The party affiliation of those who submitted absentee ballots was in my favor. However, it didn't turn out the way I thought it would. It got closer and closer as they counted.''
Sheldon had been through the absentee ballot counting process before when he ran for re-election to City Council in 1995. He said that time he was trailing going into the absentee count, which he ended up losing.
''It was nerve-wracking when you're behind. It was different this time with the lead than it was 18 years ago. I can't tell you what Tamara Dickey must have felt like with only a three-vote lead,'' Sheldon said.
Sheldon, who was on City Council in 1994-95, said this time he thinks the experience will be different. He said he is thankful for his past experience of being a part of the group having worked on the city budget.
''There have been some significant improvements to the city in that time. The (Jamestown Savings Bank Arena) was only in the planning stages when I was on it before,'' he said. ''We also had a Republican mayor and the majority of the council. It will be different this time being in the minority.''
Sheldon and Dickey will joining Republicans Anthony Dolce, Ward 2, and Kimberly Ecklund, At-Large, as the minority. The Democratic majority includes Gregory Rabb, At-Large and City Council president; Marie Carrubba, Ward 4; Maria Jones, Ward 5; Paul Whitford, Ward 6; and George Spitale, At-Large.
Dickey said this is her first time being elected to public office. However, she is not nervous about the new position because she has served on several boards and committees in her professional life and with community associations.
''I've served in corporate American for years. I'm informed, I'm trained and I'm a quick study,'' she said.
Dickey said she is looking forward to meeting the needs of her constituents.
''I'm going to respond to Ward 3 residents regarding jobs and opportunities,'' she said. ''There are some senior issues that I have been told about by my Ward Three residents, too.''