Cheryl Calhoun, seen here qualifying for the special election for Ward II, is getting a refund of her qualifying fee.
ALBANY, Ga. — Albany City Manager James Taylor said Wednesday that he will use his office’s contingency fund to refund the $450 qualifying fee paid by former Ward II City Commission candidate Cheryl Calhoun.
The $450 was paid by Calhoun when she was allowed to qualify for the seat before it was determined that she actually lived in Ward I.
Taylor, who has the authority to spend up to $40,000 without the commission’s approval under the city’s charter, said he was authorizing the check to be cut Wednesday and would be sending it, along with a letter, to Calhoun.
City Commissioner Jon Howard, the person Calhoun would be running against had the incident not occurred the way it did, asked Mayor Willie Adams Tuesday to put the topic of refunding the money on the agenda of a future meeting for discussion.
Also Tuesday, City Attorney Nathan Davis provided commissioners with a memo advocating for the body to refund the money despite the fact that state law explicitly bars refunds after the qualifying period ends.
“It recently became necessary for the Election Board to disqualify Ms. Calhoun as a candidate in Ward II. At the time she qualified, it was construed by the Election Board that she resided in Ward II. That turned out to be incorrect. The disqualification took place after the qualifying period had closed. The general rule is that after the close of the qualifying period, the qualifying fee shall not be returned to the candidate for any reason … O.C.G.A. § 21-2-134(e),” Davis wrote.
“This statute provides protection against an individual’s actions that give rise to disqualification. We feel the special circumstances in this matter do not meet that test and instead warrant a refund of the filing fee.”