Damaging claims made by a councilman about two others, and a resulting confrontation in the chambers of City Hall, does not exactly indicate a harmonious relationship among city representatives.
But, with Tuesday’s reelection of the man at the center of it all, District 2 Councilman Gary Lewis, Council will have to move past any incidents and agree to get along for at least four more years.
For city residents’ sake, councilmen say that is exactly what they plan to do.
“I certainly think that personalities haven’t changed, but councilmen are adults and we are here to work together regardless,” said Councilman Will Britt. “I don’t think everybody will be holding hands and singing ‘Kumbaya,’ but at the same time, people realize that we all have a job to do.”
“I’ll be glad to get along. That is what I want to do,” Lewis said. “I pray that we (move forward without issue).”
During city council’s October 18 meeting, Britt and Councilman Travis Chance questioned Lewis about a campaign flier alleging misdeeds by the councilmen.
The flier stated that Britt and Chance had a “tactic to influence several other Afro-American candidates to oppose Councilman Lewis” in the November 8 election to divide vote totals.
The letter also included claims that the councilmen “are not concerned for the welfare of the people of Statesboro.”
Britt and Chance, along with the three men who opposed Lewis for the District 2 council seat – Lance Turner, Sam Jones and Donald Logan – said the letter’s claims are entirely false.
When Britt and Chance confronted Lewis about the flier, the District 2 representative offered no comment.
Now, since all three men retained their respective council seats in Tuesday’s election, the trio will remain together on council for at least one more term.
“I think we can [get along],” Britt said. “I have spoken to Councilman Lewis twice since the election. The mayor has asked me if it is over and I said ‘sure.’ Now it is in the past.”
“The people can expect what they have always gotten from me, which is a passionate, emotional councilman who has their best interest at heart. I am not going to let personal feelings interfere with me helping this city move forward and continuing to be fiscally conservative, responsible and with the best interest of citizens in mind at all times,” Chance said. “I am a professional first and foremost no matter what the situation is. I will do what I have to do to set aside any personal feelings moving forward.”
Councilman Lewis said he wants to put the issue to rest.
“I don’t have any personal animosity. I want to move on and do like we used to do,” he said. “We have worked together before, and we’ll work together again.”
City council will meet for the first time since Tuesday’s election, Tuesday at 6 p.m. in City Hall.
“If everyone does their jobs, we should not have a problem,” said Councilman Tommy Blitch. “I hope we can [move forward] and are man enough to do it — But only time will tell on that.”
Jeff Harrison can be reached at (912) 489-9454.