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City Council to Decide When to Elect Next Mayor

No Special Election in May. City Council to Decide When to Elect Next Mayor

No one was surprised Monday night when the effort to have a special election in May failed, except those who have been quoted recently in news stories telling the public when, where and how the next mayor would be elected and at what cost. It is a City Council decision exclusively and a very strong City Council displayed at this week’s meeting that they will decide for themselves, in spite of obvious pressures, when to hold an election to fill the post.

Special Election Effort Fails

The issue of the vacancy in the mayor’s office drew a crowd of potential office seekers. Mayor Delmer Gabbard resigned last month with a year remaining in his term. Vice-Mayor Jimmy Gossett is presiding. City Attorney Mike Hamby advised the council of the law regarding a special election to fill the vacancy. The law does not say when that election must be held. The general election is in November.

An ordinance allowing for a special election in May was presented for consideration. There was a motion that it pass. The motion failed for lack of a second. With that ended the efforts of those oft quoted about how and when the next mayor would be elected. Councilmen expressed concerns that a special election would subject the city to too many elections and run-off’s all in one year. The apparent feeling is that waiting until the general election in November is more prudent and less costly. Much has been made (and printed) about saving money by having a special election in May. It still would not be free to the City according to the Election Commission and the near certain run-off would cost the City about $6500.00 all to be repeated in November.

Lawsuit Forcing Election Would Result in Bad Press for Candidate or Supporters

The City Council was warned that potential candidates or some “support group” could file suit to force the city to endure the expense of a special election. The term would only be until the end of the year.  Ex-mayor Garry Campbell filed suit against the City once and it was thrown out of court, but the legal expenses ran over $7,000.00. Even that would cost less than four elections and run-off’s in one year. The hope of the City Council is that there is no candidate out there who wants the job so badly that they would sue and cost the city they want to serve all that money in legal fees. It would also generate very negative press for that candidate. “Costing the City thousands in legal fees for spite is inconsistent with wanting to serve the city” says Councilman A.C. Brown. “I would never vote for a candidate who cost our town that much money just to satisfy their personal goals” said Councilman Tim Terry adding, “Just what squirrel is going to sue the City of Greenwood and claim they love it so much they want to serve us as mayor after they’ve sued us?” The general concern of the council was, why pay some temporary mayor $45,000.00 this year to do nothing but run for the office again in November?

In other business, Dr. Kay Headley was appointed to the Greenwood Parks Commission. Stephens Inc. bond advisors made a presentation regarding the new Police Station financing and the Annexation Committee reported findings on the potential annexation of Shadow Lake and the Valley Loop area which will be reported in detail later.



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