Three-way split in Austell council election heads to runoff
by Rachel Gray
November 06, 2013 02:00 AM | 1973 views | 3 3 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
AUSTELL — The race for City Council will continue until next month for three candidates in Tuesday night’s election.

Martin Standard, 55, who was running for reelection in Ward 3, tied with Ann Turner, 71, who moved to Austell in 1995 and runs a tailoring business, at 49 votes each, according to unofficial results posted on the county’s website.

Their opponent Randy Green received 94 votes, but that was not enough to push him over the 50 percent needed to walk away the victor of the race.

Green, 55, a former city councilman for 12 years who lost the Post 2 seat in 2011, received just under 49 percent Tuesday.

Janine Eveler, director of the Cobb Board of Elections, said the board has three days to count any provisional ballots, which are paper ballots filled out by voters whose eligibility was questioned.

If the results remain the same, the three candidates will have a runoff Dec. 3, Eveler said.

Green said in this election cycle his campaign worked “real, real hard” and he appreciates all the help.

“If we have a runoff, we have a runoff and I will go again,” Green said.

Standard, 55, said he has tried for the last four years to reduce the large number of automotive businesses in Austell, which he said can be “junky.”

“I would rather be known for having no businesses instead of having only automotive repair shops,” said Standard, who is a trade show consultant.

Green, who was raised in Austell and works in construction and remodeling work, said the city is pushing businesses out of town by issuing citations.

Ann Turner, who serves on the Board of Variance and Appeals and attends many of the council meetings, is a proponent of developing the downtown area.

“We need a reason for people to go downtown in the evening for it to be vital,” Turner said.

Mayor picks the council

There was drama brewing in this year’s city elections with six contenders vying for two spots, incumbents who operate independently, challengers endorsed by the mayor and two wild cards.

Mayor Joe Jerkins, who has been in office nearly 25 years and also serves as the city manager, said the reason for so many candidates was that residents are disappointed with the council.

The council has been too focused on code enforcement and redeveloping the look of downtown, Jerkins said.

“The council members we got are not listening to the people,” Jerkins said.

This election, Jerkins endorsed Ollie Clemons, who was running for the at-large Post 1, and Green.

“I was thinking (Clemons and Green) were more qualified than what we got,” Jerkins said.

Lance Lamberton, president of the Cobb County Taxpayers Association and a resident of Austell, said the current council wanted to make changes to Austell, but Jerkins wanted to push out independent voices like Trudie Causey, who represents Post 1, and Standard.

Lamberton, who lost a close election for Austell’s Ward 4 seat two years ago, claimed Jerkins wants to install council members who will not equally enforce city code violations.

“I really think this is a good old boy situation,” Lamberton said.

Lamberton added he regards Jerkins as “extremely arrogant,” with a life-sized bronze statue added to Austell’s downtown area in December 2009 and a street near City Hall named Joe Jerkins Boulevard.

At-large Post 1

Clemons was the clear victor Tuesday night, winning more than 70 percent of voters for the at-large Post 1 seat.

Clemons, 57, has been the homeowners’ association president for Bishops Run subdivision for six years and a senior sales executive for the U.S. Postal Service for 31 years.

Clemons is the vice chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission and was appointed last year to the Area Community Improvement Commission.

Clemons beat incumbent Causey, 64, a homemaker who has served on the City Council for four years after being on the Planning and Zoning Commission. Causey had more than 25 percent of the vote.

The at-large race included the youngest candidate on Tuesday’s ballot, Chris Djonis, 31, who is single and has never held a city position. Djonis had just over 4 percent of the vote.

Djonis, who runs a construction business called Djonis General Contractors, said the council needs to draw festivals and events into Austell.

Djonis added the type of retail shops and restaurants available define a city, as well as give residents and visitors a reason to come downtown.

Running unopposed for her third term, Kirsten Anderson, 55, who is a hairstylist, will continue to represent Ward 1.

Comments
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Austell hayseed
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November 12, 2013
I'm laughing at "Outside looking in" all the way to the bank.

Low crime, great services and the lowest taxes of any city in Cobb and most of the state.

It's nice to be left alone by government. If you want something different, move to Atlanta and pay $7,000 a year or more in property tax for a similar house that Austell charges about $800 in taxes for.

Austell is the best kept secret in the state and we like it that way.
Austell hayseed
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November 09, 2013
The residents of Austell have spoken with their votes in a free and open election. They have overwhelmingly thrown out Trudie Causey. Causey's partner on the council Martin Standard received less votes than Randy Green by a wide margin. Obviously the residents of Austell do not want Causey and Standard on the city council, just as they did not want Lance Lamberton when he ran. And Lamberton must be the only person in town to think Joe Jerkins is "extremely arrogant" and runs a "good old boy situation." If the people of Austell dislike the mayor, why have they kept voting for him and putting him in office for the past 23 years?
Outside looking in
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November 11, 2013
The nickname you use says it all. Hayseeds are what most people outside of Austell think of you. Austell is located in a prime growth area. Were is the growth? Mayor Jerkins either doesn't want the city to grow out of fear of loosing control of his monarchy or he doesn't know anything about how to make a city move forward. All the other cities in Cobb and the surrounding areas have somehow managed to lift themselves up in the last 20 years. If you think someone like Randy Green, who by the way had 12 years on the council and did nothing, is going to be anything more than just another one of Joe's sycophants then you are a hayseed. Good luck Austell. Hopefully the new man Ollie will lead the city in a positive direction.
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