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City Commission votes to move forward with redistricting

Assistant City Manager Wes Smith talks to the Albany City Commission about delaying plans to redraw the city wards until after a challenge to the Ward II election is decided in court. The 
commission tentatively voted to move forward over staff’s recommendation.

Assistant City Manager Wes Smith talks to the Albany City Commission about delaying plans to redraw the city wards until after a challenge to the Ward II election is decided in court. The commission tentatively voted to move forward over staff’s recommendation.

— ALBANY — Albany city commissioners voted 5-1 Tuesday to move forward with redistricting over the recommendation of city staff and the city attorney, who had asked the commission to wait until a pending legal challenge to the Ward II race could be settled.

Assistant City Manager Wes Smith told commissioners Tuesday morning that, after consulting with City Attorney Nathan Davis, the staff’s recommendation was to wait until the ongoing legal challenge for the Ward II race, which is currently being waged in Dougherty Superior Court, is over.

But Ward II Commissioner Ivey Hines, the former candidate who narrowly won the seat now being contested, balked at the idea of waiting.

“I thought the reason I was sworn is was so that I could give the people of Ward II a voice at this table and now you’re telling me that it would be inappropriate to take action,” Hines said.

City Manager James Taylor responded, “We’re not saying that it is inappropriate to move forward, we’re saying that we don’t believe it be prudent to do so when we’re under no real time crunch to do it. But we’ll move forward if that’s the wish of this commission.”

Hines and Dougherty County Elections Supervisor Ginger Nickerson are the named defendants in a formal election challenge brought by candidate Melissa Strother.

Strother contends that there were a series of voting irregularities with the November 2011 election stemming from the disqualification of a third candidate, who was allowed to qualify for the Ward II race despite the fact that the candidate lived in Ward I.

Judge Joe Bishop is expected to rule on the matter any day, but an appeal of his ruling is likely.

Ward IV Commissioner Roger Marietta supported Hines, saying that he felt there was no real reason to wait on the redistricting process.

The lone dissenter was Ward V Commissioner Bob Langstaff. Ward VI Commissioner Tommie Postell was absent from the meeting.

Linda Meggers, the former head of redistricting for the Georgia General Assembly, has already drawn up two map proposals using population data from the 2010 census for commissioners to consider.

Ward II, along with Wards V and III, are expected to be significantly redrawn.

Meggers assisted when the Dougherty County Commission and the Dougherty County School Board redrew their common districts last year in preparation for commission and School Board elections this year.

Municipal elections don’t come around again until 2013, so there is ample time to redraw those lines, city staff said.

Comments

KaosinAlbany 2 years, 2 months ago

Not surprised they couldn't wait for the court's decision. Where's Wonderbread now?

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Abytaxpayer 2 years, 2 months ago

Hines did not “WIN” the election, he was given the election on the backs of 247 of his constituents. Then for him to proclaim today “I thought the reason I was sworn is was so that I could give the people of Ward II a voice at this table” When he really meant was he was there to represent ONLY the folks that voted for him. He cares nothing about the 247 and proved it by not being a gentleman and professional and agreeing to a runoff vote. He was in such a hurry to claim his “Victory” he could not allow the 247 to vote for him at no cost to the taxpayers. Now we are paying the legal fees to defend his rush to “Victory” and most likely will have to pay the cost of a special election. There is no doubt he would have won in the run-off but his GREED for Victory will now cost the Taxpayers and he has proved the caliber of person he is. He has stepped on 247 of his constituents to get his “Victory” so what is he going to do to the rest of us?….Only today he was again Rushing into decisions while disregarding Staff and Legal advise… Sounds like “I am entitled to my desires no matter the cost, cause someone else will foot the bill” Wow what is next? Maybe more Cutliff Groves on the horizon?

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KaosinAlbany 2 years, 2 months ago

Hines fits right in with the rest of them. They have their man and that is why they are so resistant to the challenge in the Courts. They messed with the wrong person this time and she challenged the results. If Hines and Nickerson appeal the judges decision, if the judge favors Melissa's side, we the tax payers will pay until the cows come home. How about Nickerson and Hines pay for their own legal expenses and see how far this will go instead of on our dime.

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Jack_Frost 2 years, 2 months ago

Hey Ivey, here's a tidbit for you. Your election is still tainted by allegations of voter fraud. Those aren't just going to go away, you know?

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Justice4Moma 2 years, 2 months ago

OK,call me stupid if you like.But why do they always have to redraw lines.Just leave them alone.Let the Votes go as they may.To me it seems they only do this to get the right votes in the right places.Maybe i am wrong,but if left alone we may just get some good people voted in.At best we would know who to vote for and where.

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Jack_Frost 2 years, 2 months ago

They have to in order to insure that there is equal representation. Each politician represents approximately X number of people and whatnot. Otherwise, you could have someone representing 15 people who have an unequal say in what happens in Albany.

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Justice4Moma 2 years, 2 months ago

Thank you.I did not know that.And unlike most people i am not affraid to ask about something i dont know about.See,i can learn reading these things.And when it comes to America,unlike school kids now a days,i love to learn.Hey im 53,i probley knew it,just forgot it.lol.Anyway thank you Jack.

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