An article yesterday on the timetable for a special County Council election in Montgomery County incorrectly reported the deadline for independent candidates to submit petitions. Petition formats must be certified by Feb. 7, but candidates can submit signed petitions until March 7. (Published 01/20/2000)

The Montgomery County Council set the timetable yesterday for a special election to fill the council seat held by Betty Ann Krahnke, a Chevy Chase Republican who is retiring a year into her third term because of illness.

Primaries will be held March 7. Then the Republican and Democratic nominees, and any independent candidates, will square off in a special election April 18, with the winner serving the remaining three years of Krahnke's term. Krahnke represents an area that includes Potomac, North Bethesda and Chevy Chase.

This is the first time Montgomery will fill a vacant council seat by special election. Previously, council members appointed replacements. Krahnke, who has suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease for 18 months, will step down from her seat April 17.

Council President Michael L. Subin (D-At Large) said, "The council is saddened by the need to implement a law that everybody hoped would never have to be implemented."

Candidates for the Republican and Democratic nominations have until Feb. 14 to file candidacy papers. For independent candidates to qualify for the general election ballot, they must gather about 1,000 signatures from registered voters in the district by Feb. 7.

Whoever wins the seat could help decide a number of important issues on a closely divided council. Krahnke was part of a five-vote majority on the nine-member panel in favor of further income tax cuts in the coming fiscal year. She voted against legislation last year that would have almost doubled the minimum wage for many employees working for companies that do business with the county. Supporters of "living wage" legislation are considering a second try at passing a measure that failed by one vote last year.

No one filed candidacy papers yesterday. Possible candidates include former Republican state senator Howard A. Denis; former county Planning Board member Patricia S. Baptiste, who is a Democrat; and North Bethesda activist Karen Kuker-Kihl, who ran unsuccessfully for the seat as a Democrat two years ago.

W. Gregory Wims, a member of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, announced Monday that he is forming an exploratory committee to gauge support for him as a candidate for the Republican nomination.

CAPTION: Betty Ann Krahnke is leaving the council because of illness.