This story was updated on May 13, 2013.
The Chevy Chase council election was a close one, but in the end newcomer John Bickerman beat out council veteran Linna Barnes by 11 votes on May 7.
Bickerman, a mediator, won the seat with 324 votes to Barnes’ 313, according to the town’s website. Mayor Patricia Burda, the other incumbent who ran, won re-election for her council seat with 384 votes. Burda, an interior designer, was appointed in 2012 and has been on the council since 2009. Barnes, a historical preservationist, has served as mayor in the past and has been on the council since 2000.
May 8 the new council met and reappointed Burda as mayor.
“I think I raised some important issues that the town will have to deal with going forward,” Bickerman said. “It was a lively and spirited campaign.”
Lively in no small part due to Bickerman’s raising the issue of the town’s estimated surplus of $9.1 million dollars.
At a candidates’ forum on April 26, Burda called the surplus “a nice problem to have” and Barnes spoke of the possibility of the town buying parkland with the money, but Bickerman said the surplus represented poor leadership and lost opportunities.
“We have more money than any other town in the area,” Bickerman said of the surplus. “We got it wrong by about 45 percent.”
Both Burda and Bickerman agree that the town needs to take an active role in shaping nearby development that borders the town, and in fighting the Purple Line, an as-yet unfunded light rail project.
Bickerman said he looks forward to putting the campaign behind him and working with his new colleagues on the council, which meets every other week.
“I’ve circled every second Wednesday for the next few years,” Bickerman said.