The special election for the District 3 post on the Columbia County Commission has big shoes to fill. The previous occupant, Barry Fleming, also was serving as chairman of the Commission when he resigned to seek Bill Jacksons seat in the state Legislature.
Fleming first sought the office to fill the unexpired term of Lee Brooks, and was only two years into his own first term when he resigned. That means this seat, which currently encompasses everything south of Interstate 20 including the cities of Harlem and Grovetown, has been shuffled for the past five years among what now will be its third commissioner.
District 3 needs a strong advocate for that part of the community, with deep roots and a desire for stability in the district. And because the winner of Tuesdays special election takes office the following day, the new commissioner must be an experienced leader who can hit the ground running.
Clearly, these criteria point to Mark Devoti.
Eight years a member of Grove-town City Council, Devoti has the background to immediately serve the needs of District 3. He already is well-schooled in government operations, and doesnt need on-the-job training to familiarize himself with the details of taxes and budgets.
Devoti was on board through good and bad years in Grovetown, and proudly points to recent progress the city has made now that its leadership has learned to pull in the same direction. While he is reluctant to take individual credit, Devoti points to the creation of the citys public safety department and the construction of a new city hall and other public works projects as high points of his tenure.
Such nuts-and-bolts accomplishments also are needed in the rest of District 3, especially in struggling Harlem. Devotis experience in fast-growing Grovetown will be invaluable as he works to improve opportunities for the countys smallest city.
Practical, ethical and direct, Mark Devoti will make a fine addition to Columbia Countys Commission.
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