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Hines takes seat on City Commission

The Rev. Ivey Hines repeats the oath of office from Municipal Court Judge Willie Weaver while standing next to his wife Martha Tuesday night. Hines took the oath and took his seat at the Albany City Commission table Tuesday amid a contested election that is still playing out in court.

The Rev. Ivey Hines repeats the oath of office from Municipal Court Judge Willie Weaver while standing next to his wife Martha Tuesday night. Hines took the oath and took his seat at the Albany City Commission table Tuesday amid a contested election that is still playing out in court.

ALBANY, Ga. — The Rev. Ivey Hines swore the oath to become an Albany City Commissioner and took his seat on the board Tuesday night, even as the city attorney cautioned that the move may not be final due to a pending legal action still before the courts.

Hines was declared the winner of the Nov. 8 race by a narrow margin after all votes cast for candidate Cheryl Calhoun were tossed. Calhoun was declared ineligible as a candidate. She was disqualified under Georgia law when it was determined that she lives in Ward I.

Calhoun maintains that she originally intended to qualify for the Ward I race but was told by Elections officials that she lived in Ward II, which was later proven to be incorrect.

Candidate Melissa Strother filed a legal challenge to the election in Dougherty Superior Court Friday citing irregularities stemming from Calhoun’s disqualification that rippled through the election process and called into question the results of the race.

Before the commission issued a declaration acknowledging the results of the race, City Attorney Nathan Davis explained that state law allows for the swearing-in of an official even while an official legal challenge has been made, but he said that the move could be overturned by a judge.

“State law anticipates situations like this. ... What happens tonight is not final, no,” Davis told the commission.

That law, O.C.G.A. 21-2-503 (b), states “A person elected to a municipal office may be sworn into office notwithstanding that the election of such person may be contested in the manner provided by this chapter. Upon the final judgment of the proper tribunal having jurisdiction of a contested election which orders a second election or declares that another person was legally elected to the office, the person sworn into municipal office shall cease to hold the office and shall cease to exercise the powers, duties, and privileges of the office immediately.”

Davis said swearing in Hines would not prevent the court from deliberating on the validity of the election and that if the court ruled Strother to have been the victor or that there needs to be a race between Hines and Strother, that the court order would, in effect, supercede the commission’s action.

That being said, the commission voted 5-0-1, with Ward V Commission Bob Langstaff abstaining, to accept the results of the Ward II race.

Immediately following the vote, Hines swore the oath of office as administered by Municipal Court Judge Willie Weaver and took his seat as the newest Albany City Commissioner.

“It feels great,” Hines said following the meeting. “I finally get some relief, knowing that the situation is still ongoing with the courts. I’m glad that, in the meantime, the people of Ward II have a voice at the table.”

Strother, who was at Tuesday’s meeting, said that Davis’ interpretation of the law was in agreement with the way it had been explained to her by her attorney and that she was eager for the courts to render a decision.

“I understand the concern that Ward II has gone without representation,” Strother said. “I just want to make sure that whoever is representing the ward was voted in fairly and that the person who is entitled to be there is the one people voted for ... that the people’s voice was heard.”

In the City Commission’s pre-briefing, Davis told commissioners that the city is asking for the court to set a hearing no later than Dec. 2 so that the matter is dealt with expeditiously.

Comments

Cartman 2 years, 5 months ago

Let's see how complicated we can make things. So newly seated Comm. Hines votes on city matters. Then if the election is later declared null. Does his commission votes count? Just asking.

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daisymae 2 years, 5 months ago

Just when you think the City of Albany can't mess up a one car parade !!!

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Abytaxpayer 2 years, 5 months ago

Is it just me or does anyone else see a double standard here….Mr Hines is wearing a “I Voted” sticker. Is he saying I got to vote and I Won, but you folks that voted for the disqualified candidate your vote means nothing….How is he going to represent folks he has no respect for. The mistakes made were not his, but he could have ask that everyone’s vote get a equal chance to be heard in a runoff. That would have been a breath of fresh air for Albany, a man who wants to be a Leader for all people and not just get away with what a law allows him to bend to his advantage.

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ittybittyme 2 years, 5 months ago

Shame on you, "Reverend" Hines for not speaking up about the irregularities in the election. You call yourself a preacher...you are a hypocrite...do the right thing...step up and call for runoff...let the people in Ward 2 be heard...oh, I forgot you can't do that..you think you are owed this because you are black...

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Abytaxpayer 2 years, 5 months ago

Shame!! My question is how does Mr Hines stand before his ward and hold his head high knowing he has just told some of his ward “Your voice does not matter to ME! Sure you voted but your vote does not matter to me” Wow what a step backwards. Let’s face it, odds are Mr Hines would win in a runoff, which could be done at almost no additional cost to taxpayers. But now because of his arrogance and lack of concern about all the voters in his ward he will cost Taxpayers thousands to defend his win. Hmmm the school board has #34 and now we have Commissioner Shame for the City. I sincerely hope Commissioner Shame proves his worth to his ward but the Shame of how he was elected will be his cross to bear from now on. What a missed opportunity for true Leadership in Albany. How easy it could have been to ask for a clean and fair runoff to count all votes, instead we get “I Won I WON” you little people mean nothing to me. I say good luck to you Commissioner Shame you will need it starting off on the wrong foot, starting off as a politician and not a Leader. Albany needs Leaders not more politicians.

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firefly 2 years, 5 months ago

There are 200+ people of Ward II that should be outraged that their votes can just be "tossed" as though they do not matter. It's time someone takes a stand!!

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mskeepitreal4Albany 2 years, 5 months ago

First off Commissioner Hines isn't costing the taxpayers anything it's Melissa Strothers who wants to bring this into the courts and not accept that she lost fair and square. It amazes me how people want to use the race and "holy than thou" against someone when things are not going their way. So since she didn't receive the fair amount of votes needed to win I'll just create a ruckus or tie up the court system with my whining...lady please it's over and the people who did vote and were counted made their decision now live with it. Really tired of my tax dollars being wasted on frivolous lawsuits and irresponsible people.

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Abytaxpayer 2 years, 5 months ago

First OFF MS ...........Mrs. Strothers did not lose "Fair and Square". You are one of the uninformed blind followers spouting off with no knowledge of what you speak.. Commissioner SHAME did not win the required 51% of the votes that were cast in his ward. ONLY by throwing out 259 votes to reduce the number of votes cast in the ward was Mr Shame given a 51%. Only be manipulating the votes COUNTED was Mr Shame given the election, Mr Shame did not WIN 51% of the votes cast. While Mr Shame most likely would have won in a runoff with no shame because ALL the votes would be counted, the problem we have now is 259 voters lost their voice because they voted for the wrong person…….This is a slippery slope where do we draw the line, if people are willing to go to the trouble to vote shouldn’t their vote Always count? How will you feel if it is your vote that does not count next time? Thank you but it is irresponsible people like you running their mouth that are the problem, how can you agree NOT to count someone’s vote? A runoff would have been “Fair and Square” and not the manipulation we now have. Just remember “Everything you get from the GOVERNMENT was taken from someone else” and now YOU are the one that wants that to include votes.

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Abytaxpayer 2 years, 5 months ago

My apologies to MS and her fellow UBF spouters I know you want this to be about race so badly! .....But this is about everyone’s right to vote. ......I am guessing most if not all the 259 are Black so my stand for their vote to be counted does not fit well with you claims of racism. But if you can justify not counting the 259 this time I am sure that next election there will be people that will be more than happy to use your reasoning to not count the UBF voters. I voted and my vote counted and I feel my vote is no better than anyone else’s vote, but I await your justification. Please Hurry!!!!!

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