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Brian Smith decides against second term, creating two open seats on Decatur City Commission

Annexation, new cities campaign coverage Decatur

Brian Smith decides against second term, creating two open seats on Decatur City Commission

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There are now two open seats on the Nov. 5 Decatur City Commission ballot.

At the end of the July 15 City Commission meeting, Commissioner Brian Smith announced he would not seek a second term, a reversal of his earlier statements that he would be running again.

Smith said that after giving it some thought, he concluded that he would have a hard time balancing his day job with his duties as a parent and responsibilities as a City Commissioner.

“As most of you know, I wear multiple hats: dad, husband, I’m a partner at a large accounting firm,” Smith said. “In the last six months, it’s been tough to devote 110 percent to all of that. The city deserves the best. … I’m concerned I’m not going to be able to give 110 percent.”

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Smith said the decision wasn’t an easy one to make.

“It’s been something I’ve grappled with,” he said. “It’s the best decision for the city and me at this time.”

Smith said the purchase of the former United Methodist Children’s Home, now called Legacy Park, and improving relationships with the school board, particularly when it comes to the contentious issue of annexation, are the highlights of his time on the commission.

Smith’s departure, along with Scott Drake’s decision not to run again, leaves two open seats on the Nov. 5 ballot: District 1 Post B (Drake’s seat), and District 2, Post B (Smith’s seat). Mayor Pro Tem Tony Powers plans to run for his at-large commission seat again.

Smith isn’t the only Decatur official who has struggled to balance work, family and public service obligations.

Drake opted not to run again for many of the same reasons Smith listed. Ditto for School Board member Annie Caiola, who recently announced that she would resign in August, meaning there will be three seats on the School Board ballot this year.

“Stepping back is not an easy choice for a woman who has always unflinchingly said ‘sign me up’ when it came to driving carpools, chaperoning field trips, serving on boards, advocating for public education, or taking a leap of faith to start a women-owned business in a male-dominated field,” Caiola said. “But as my business is growing and my children are getting older, it’s become increasing difficult to say ‘sign me up,’ and it’s become increasingly apparent that something will have to give.”

Her at-large School Board seat will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot along with the seats held by Garrett Goebel and Tasha White. Goebel isn’t running. White is.

Here are the rules for anyone who wants to seek a seat on the City Commission or School Board this year.

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The Decatur City Commission officially announces the Call for the City’s General Election to be held in the City of Decatur, Georgia, on November 5, 2019 for three Decatur Board of Education members for four year terms of office, and three City of Decatur Commissioners for four year terms, such terms to begin at the organizational meeting in January 2020.

One City Commissioner from Election District 1, Post B (Held by Scott Drake, who is not seeking reelection.)

One City Commissioner from Election District 2, Post B (Held by Brian Smith, who is not seeking reelection.)

One City Commissioner from Election District at Large (Held by Tony Powers, who is running for another term.)

One Decatur Board of Education member from Election District 1, Post B (Held by Garrett Goebel, who is not seeking reelection.)

One Decatur Board of Education member from Election District 2, Post B (Held by Tasha White, who will run for another term.)

One Decatur Board of Education member, At-Large (Held by Annie Caiola, who is resigning next month. Editor’s note: The election for this seat will be to finish Caiola’s term. The winner of this election will have to run for another four-year term after serving a short two-year term.) 

DeKalb County will conduct this election at the following proposed precincts.

Note: precincts are subject to change.

Election District        District :         Polling Place for Election

Clairemont East               1                 : First Baptist Church of Decatur, 308 Clairemont Ave

Clairemont West              1                 : The Church at Decatur Heights, 735 Sycamore Drive

Glenwood Precinct          1&2            : Holy Trinity Parish, 515 E. Ponce de Leon Ave.

Oakhurst                          2                 : Oakhurst Baptist Church, 222 E. Lake Dr.

Ponce De Leon              1&2              : First Christain Church of Decatur, 601 W. Ponce de Leon Ave

Renfroe                             2                : Renfroe Middle School, 220 W. College Ave.

Winnona Park                   2                : Winnona Park Elementary School, 510 Avery St.

Each candidate will file notice of his or her candidacy and the appropriate affidavit in the office of the Election Superintendent at City Hall, 509 North McDonough Street, Decatur, Georgia.  The opening dates for qualifying will start Monday, August 19, 2019 beginning at 8:30 A.M., and continuing until Wednesday August 21, 2019 at 4:30 P.M. The qualifying fee for City Commission office is $360.00 and the qualifying fee for Board of Education members is $35.00.

Registration for voting in the November 5, 2019 election will cut off on Tuesday, October 7, 2019.

For the November 5, 2019 General Municipal Election, the Absentee Poll will open 22 days prior to the Election

(October 14, 2019).  All Advance Voting (Absentee in person) will be held at 4380 Memorial Drive, Monday through Friday, 8:30 A.M. to 4:00 P.M., October 15, 2019 through November 1, 2019.  Questions concerning absentee voting, early voting or voter registration should be directed to DeKalb County Elections Division at 404-298-4020.

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