The Statesboro Herald will host the three candidates for mayor of Statesboro in a forum Monday evening, giving voters another chance to hear from them before deciding.
Advanced voting is already underway, and Nov. 7 will be Election Day at regular polling places.
Challengers John Grotheer and Jonathan McCollar and incumbent Mayor Jan Moore have all agreed to attend. The forum is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. and conclude at 8:15 p.m. in the Transitions Learning Center cafetorium, adjoining the Bulloch County Board of Education’s central offices at 150 Williams Road.
Statesboro Herald President Joe McGlamery will be the moderator. The newspaper will have some prepared questions for candidates, but audience members can also submit questions on note cards, and a selection of these will be asked within the time limits of the forum.
The forum will be livestreamed at www.statesboroherald.com and made available there for on-demand viewing afterward.
One question the candidates are asked often is why they want to be mayor for the next four years.
“My qualifications in city and county government are a good fit for this position, as well as I recently retired and therefore am able to dedicate full-time to public service, and I’m looking forward to that,” Grotheer said Wednesday.
He holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Troy University, a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Savannah State University, and an associate degree from Armstrong State.
Grotheer worked 13 years as city clerk and finance director with the city of Covington. Then, for eight years before retiring in July, he was finance director for the Bryan County government in Pembroke and served one month as interim county administrator. He and his wife, Diane Drew-Grotheer, Ph.D., have been Statesboro residents since February 2014.
Grotheer had previously said that he is running because he believes “the citizens deserve an open and transparent government, one that is interested in listening, being responsive, and genuinely committed to serving all the citizens of the city of Statesboro.”
His similar statement Wednesday evening during a forum sponsored by the Agape Worship Center’s Youth Development Program drew disagreement from Moore, who said the city already is those things.
McCollar told the Herald, “I’m running because I believe it’s time for Statesboro to have leadership that’s going to move us into this new millennium and outline a vision that brings all people to the table.”
He previously ran for mayor in 2013, when the race came down to a runoff between McCollar and Moore, who won by a margin of 93 votes out of a total of 1,867 cast.
McCollar’s banners carry the slogan “People over Politics.” He says this names a movement, not a campaign.
“We need more people at the table that are looking out for the welfare of our youngest, our elderly and those in-between,” said McCollar, who cites poverty as Statesboro’s greatest challenge.
Born in Statesboro, he has lived here all his life. He and his wife, Adrianne McCollar, are bringing up their five children here.
He attained both his Master of Public Administration degree and a bachelor’s degree with a major in history from Georgia Southern University and now works as assistant campus director for Armstrong State University’s Liberty Campus.
If elected, McCollar would be Statesboro’s first African-American mayor.
Record, road ahead
Moore is its first female mayor, serving with a City Council that is all-male and has been as long as anyone can remember.
“Why am I running?” Moore answered via email. “Over the last four years, the infrastructure has been put in place for our city to experience a unique period of growth and prosperity. It is imperative that we take advantage of this opportunity and return vibrancy back to our city while continuing to build opportunities for our citizens. There is much to be done and much that can be done.”
She cites restoration of the city’s general fund reserve, now over $3.6 million, and creation of the city’s first long-range strategic plan as achievements she helped bring about.
In her other job, Moore is vice president for economic development at Ogeechee Technical College. She holds an Education Specialist degree and Master of Education, both in school psychology, from Georgia Southern University, and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Georgia.
Moore and her husband, Bill Moore, have two daughters, Cecilia and Ginny, now young adults.
The Herald’s forum is not the first. About 150 people attended the Agape Worship Center’s forum Wednesday in the Southern Hospitality Center at SpringHill Suites. A story about candidates’ responses to one or two questions asked there will appear Sunday.
Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.