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Garrett reelected to Decatur City Commission, Utz, Johnson-Davis elected to School Board

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Garrett reelected to Decatur City Commission, Utz, Johnson-Davis elected to School Board

(Left to Right) Hans Utz, Carmen Sulton and Jana Johnson-Davis were elected to the Decatur School Board on Tuesday, Nov. 2. Photo is from the Carmen for CSD Board Facebook page.

This story has been updated.

Decatur, GA — Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett will serve a fourth term on the City Commission, representing District 2. Garrett ran unopposed in the election this year. She is looking forward to implementing the strategic plan and making progress on the goals and action items in the plan.

City Commissioner Kelly Walsh, who was challenged by Katie Bell, was also reelected and will serve a second term. Walsh represents District 1.


Decatur City Commission, District 2   (Precincts reporting: 5 of 5)

Patti Garrett (I) 1811 / 98.05%

Decatur City Commission, District 1  (Precincts reporting: 4 of 4 )

Katie Bell  1274 /40.73%

Kelly Walsh (I) 1845/ 58.98% WINNER

“I certainly congratulate those who are going to be serving the city for the next four years, both at the city level and at the School Board level,” Garrett said. “Another thing that I don’t want to overlook is I really appreciate the voters supporting the senior [homestead tax exemption] and the ESPLOST. Both of those are really important things for our community.”

Garrett said she is honored to serve on the City Commission for another four years.

“I don’t take this responsibility lightly in any way,” Garrett said. “I really look forward to working with my colleagues on the City Commission, and our partners on the School Board and in the community.”

She is also looking forward to making progress on some major projects, addressing climate change and working on policy items. She hopes the work on the clean energy plan will help the city figure out the best way to move forward. She also hopes the City Commission will adopt a new tree ordinance before the end of the year.

“I’m looking forward to seeing some things take place on the continuation of what’s happening on the Legacy Park property, especially in terms of affordable housing and continuing to really activate that whole area,” Garrett said. “I really think the strides that we can take in the area of equity, inclusion and climate change are going to wrap around everything else that we do in the next four years. I think those priorities are clear on the part of our community and also clear on the part of the elected City Commission.”

Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett reacts to news of her reelection during an event for Decatur City Commissioner Kelly Walsh’s campaign for reelection at The Marley House on Nov. 2, Election Day. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Decatur also had three School Board seats on the ballot. Hans Utz was elected for his first term and will fill the District 1 seat. Incumbent School Board member Jana Johnson-Davis was reelected for the At-Large seat. This will be her first full four-year term. She was elected in 2019 when former board member Annie Caiola stepped down with two years remaining in her term.

Utz and Johnson-Davis ran unopposed.

Dr. Carmen Sulton was elected to the Decatur School Board and will serve her first four-year term on the board. She ran against Dan Baskerville for the District 2 seat.


BOE, District 1  (Precincts reporting:)

Hans Utz 2698 / 98.07 WINNER

BOE, District 2  (Precincts reporting: 5 of 5)

Dan Baskerville 630/ 33.05%

Carmen Sulton 1271/66.68% WINNER

BOE At-Large

Jana Johnson- Davis (I) 4415/97.42% WINNER

“I’m excited about Carmen and Hans joining the board. I think that they each bring unique skills and backgrounds that will definitely benefit the board,” Johnson-Davis said. “I think we have the best team together now to help us take CSD to the next level.”

Johnson-Davis is excited to continue her work on the board, and she plans to continue working on the things that initially brought her to her School Board seat.

“[I want to] continue to push for the full implementation of positive behavioral interventions and supports, and expand the restorative practices that the schools are using,” Johnson-Davis said. “I’m interested in closing our achievement gap, which persists between our Black and white students.”

Other priorities for Johnson-Davis are focusing on the health and safety of staff and students, racial equity and accountability.

“What was my priority two years ago when I first ran two years ago, continues to be a priority, which is practical solutions to critical challenges, including the recruitment of diverse teachers, administrators and staff,” Johnson-Davis said. “[I want to] continue collaborating with our community partners and local elected officials to ensure positive outcomes for our students, and make sure that responsible financial stewardship remains at the forefront of our decisions.”

Utz is looking forward to his first term on the board and serving the City Schools of the Decatur, parents, the community, and especially the students. He also looks forward to making the changes that have been promised and moving Decatur forward, he said.

“I think the camaraderie and working together to try to guide the system, also with the superintendent, is something that I’m looking forward to,” he said. “I’m looking forward to learning a lot more about each of the schools and the principals and the teachers, and everyone else involved as well.”

From a policy standpoint, the selection of the superintendent and professionalizing the budget are the two policy things he’ll be focused on most in the next year.

“The three main [priorities] were fiscal management, which really relates to having the project done correctly; governance and just ensuring that we don’t find ourselves in the same situation that we were in with Dr. [David] Dude is key; and then the diversity and inclusion piece, where we seem to do all the talking about equity but still seem to keep stumbling over the same couple of metrics,” Utz said. “Those are the three priorities that I’d like to focus on.”

The City Schools of Decatur senior homestead tax exemption also passed and CSD’s ESPLOST vote passed.

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