ALBANY, Ga. — Businesswoman B.J. Fletcher announced Monday she will seek the Ward III Albany City Commission seat currently held by Christopher Pike in the city’s Nov. 5 Municipal Election.
Fletcher, the owner of BJ’s Country Buffet, director of sales for the local Hilton Garden Inn and a member of the Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority board, said her campaign will focus on needed improvements within Ward III and economic development opportunities in the city.
“If you take and look at the job description of what a city commissioner does ... well, I’ve been doing that,” Fletcher said. “It’s like the description was written about B.J. Fletcher. I believe there are specific needs in the ward that aren’t being met, and I honestly believe I can do a better job of meeting them.
“I believe a good commissioner has to be a phone call away, and I have always been approachable. I’ve heard from a lot of people in Ward III that Chris is a hard person to reach.”
Pike said Monday he’s not surprised by Fletcher’s announcement.
“I knew when she made a move into the ward a few months ago ... well, this is not my first rodeo,” Pike said. “I have no real comment about her announcement right off hand, other than to say that that’s one of the great things about America, that anyone who wants to be a part of the process has a right to run.”
Fletcher, who lost in a runoff to current Mayor Dorothy Hubbard for that seat in 2011, alluded to Pike’s financial issues with her employer while talking about her planned run for a seat on the commission.
“I’ve personally tried to stay out of Chris’ issues with the Hilton Garden Inn because I’m employed there,” she said. “But I’m aware of those issues, and I know (a former Hilton employee) lost her job because of his refusal to pay the money he owed there.
“Now, we’ve had issues with the noise at the Broad Avenue Bridge with work sometimes going on until 10 or 11 at night where we’ve had to give refunds to customers who couldn’t sleep. The Hilton, which is a downtown business, can’t reach out to the commissioner who represents the downtown district. I think we need someone capable of making the best decisions for their ward; it’s not about the commissioners, it’s about the people they represent.”
The Wards II, III and V City Commission seats, currently held, respectively, by Ivey Hines, Pike and Bob Langstaff, will be up for election on Nov. 5.