Jim Skelton weighs run for Sedgwick County commission

Wichita City Council member Jim Skelton is considering a move from City Hall to the courthouse.

Skelton confirmed Tuesday that he is thinking about running for Gwen Welshimer's seat on the Sedgwick County Commission.

"I'll make my decision by the end of the year," he said Tuesday.

Skelton, a Republican, is about to complete his fifth year on the council. His position on that board will be up for re-election in three years.

"I'm proud of the things that have been accomplished in south Wichita," Skelton said. "I want to continue to be accessible. Everyone in town has my mobile number."

Skelton joins a growing list of people who have filed for the commission or have said they are thinking about doing so.

Three commission seats will be up for election next year: Kelly Parks', Dave Unruh's and Welshimer's.

Lucy Burtnett has filed for her former seat on the board.

A Republican, Burtnett will run for the seat now held by Parks, who defeated her in 2006.

Burtnett served as a commissioner for two years, filling the remainder of Carolyn McGinn's term.

The Eagle reported in August that she planned to run for the board.

So far, Parks, a Republican, and Welshimer, a Democrat, have not filed for re-election. They have said they have not decided whether they will run. Welshimer has said she likely would make that decision after the first of the year.

Unruh, a Republican, filed in May to try to retain his seat on the board.

Former Wichita City Council member Sharon Fearey, a Democrat, also has said she plans to run for Parks' seat. As of Tuesday, she had not filed with the election office.

Derby Mayor Dion Avello, a Republican, has filed for Welshimer's district.

Avello, who owns Acme Lithographers in Wichita, has been Derby's mayor for about six years.

Chuck Warren, a member of the Derby City Council, also has said he plans to run for Welshimer's seat on the board. He has not filed with the election office yet.

A Republican, Warren is a managing broker for the Derby office of Coldwell Banker/Plaza Real Estate and a commercial investor.

Wichita school board member Betty Arnold last week announced her intention to run for Unruh's district, but she has not yet filed with the election office.

Commissioners, who are full-time county employees, earn an annual salary of $83,718.