During last week’s candidate qualifying, Register Mayor Barbara Rushing qualified for election to a full term, but nobody signed up for the two Register Town Council seats due for election.
Meanwhile, Brooklet and Portal can probably skip the city elections Nov. 7 since exactly one candidate signed up for each available council seat. Portal will have one new council member, filling a vacancy.
But Register Town Council was already down to four council members for the five authorized seats, and will be down to three at year-end unless there is an appointment or write-in candidate.
Friday morning, Rushing said she was talking to some residents, looking for candidates to fill both seats due for election after incumbent Councilman T.J. Newman decided not to run. The other seat due had been vacant since January.
“Nobody signed up; nobody qualified,” Rushing said Friday. “We’ve still got a quorum, but I mean, we really need those other two seats filled.”
Newman cited family obligations in his decision, Rushing said.
She did not find anyone to qualify for the council seats by the close of qualifying at 4:30 p.m. Friday. Tuesday, Rushing said she was seeking guidance from Register’s town attorney but believes the current council will be able to appoint members after the Nov. 7 election date.
“This has happened before,” Rushing observed.
Register has fewer than 200 residents, and council candidates must be at least 18 years old, meet a residency requirement and be willing to serve.
Previously a council member since 2014, Rushing was mayor pro tempore when then-Mayor John Williams resigned at the end of 2015 and the council appointed her mayor. Since no challengers signed up last week, she will begin a four-year term in January.
Brooklet and Portal
In Brooklet, the three incumbent City Council members up for election qualified, and nobody else did, City Administrator and Clerk Angela Wirth reported at the end of the week. So Councilman Jim Stanoff in Seat 3, Councilman Greg Schlierf in Seat 4 and Councilman William Griffith in Seat 5 are uncontested for re-election.
In Portal, incumbent council members Sissy Carter in Post 1 and Jerry Lanigan in Post 3 qualified and have no opposition. Post 4 was vacant, but Clay Williams, a Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office employee, signed up as the Post 4 candidate, reported City Clerk Mike Arrieta.
The regular qualifying period, when candidates fill out paperwork and paid fees, was last Monday through Friday for city elections throughout Georgia. Candidates could still qualify by a write-in process this week, but this Friday, Sept. 1, is the last day, said Bulloch County Election Supervisor Patricia Lanier Jones.
Cities that have only uncontested seats after the close of write-in qualifying will not have to hold elections, Jones confirmed.
Tuesday, Jones said she would have to consult Register’s attorney about the process required under the town’s charter when there are no qualified candidates.
As reported Saturday, Statesboro has three candidates for mayor, challengers John Grotheer and Jonathan McCollar and incumbent Jan Moore. Statesboro City Council members Phil Boyum and John Riggs are uncontested for re-election.
Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.