Now that the elections for Columbia County Commis-sion offices are over, we know what the countys government will look like Jan. 1.
What we dont know is if the operation of the county will change as a result.
The final piece of the puzzle came Tuesday, when voters chose Mark Devoti over Tony Mundy by a 2-1 margin. Devoti served eight years on the Grovetown City Council, and had the support of Mayor Dennis Trudeau as well as endorsements from some Council members and local lawmakers.
Mundy was recommended by Marjorie Adams, a Grovetown City Council member who usually echoes Trudeau. He also got an endorsement from Peggy Lichtenberg, who came in third in the Aug. 20 primary. Weeks earlier, Mundy tried to get Lichtenberg thrown out of the race because she doesnt live in District 3.
State Rep. Ben Harbin took notice of the questions about Lichtenbergs residency, and says hell work to change the law that allows someone to run for a County Commission seat without living in the district first.
This is the fourth time, by the way, that Mundy has lost an election. He ran three times in Richmond County - once as a Democrat, twice as a Republican - and adds a non-partisan loss to his record in Columbia County.
Because the race was a special election to fill the remaining two years of Barry Flemings term, Devoti is to be sworn in Tuesday before the Columbia County Commission meeting in Evans. He joins two fellow commissioners who remain on the board after Jan. 1: Tom Mercer and Diane Ford.
Then, Jan. 1, Steve Brown replaces Frank Spears, and Ron Cross takes office as the newly elected chairman. Jim Whitehead is retiring from the Commission, and will go down in history as the countys last chairman elected by fellow commissioners.
Hes the last, that is, until we change the law again. We changed it two decades ago, when Lynn Norris was the last countywide elected chairman. Cross now has the distinction of being first.
So we know all this now. But we dont know, yet, what it means for the operation of the county. A big question behind the scenes regards the future of some of the countys top em-ployees - namely, County Administrator Steve Szablewski and Plan-ning and Development Director Jeff Browning.
Word to the wise, new guys: You dont own the car; voters are just letting you drive it. Before you try to fix Columbia County, youd better be ready to prove its broke.
For the second time in as many weeks, the Winfield community has lost a great citizen: Joe Cummings passed away at age 96. Like Walter Tankersley, who also died recently, Cummings was a long-time resident of the community and worked to improve the Winfield Fire Department.
Mr. Cummings was a retired carpenter, and a good one. He taught me a lesson some 25 years ago when he helped my dad and grandfather build a hay barn: If youre throwing an object to someone, aim at their head. Theyll be sure to catch it.
He told me this, incidentally, while lobbing a claw hammer at me.
I caught it.
Mr. Cummings was a devoted member of First Mount Carmel Baptist Church, where he served on the board of trustees. Though I never asked, I imagine it was a source of satisfaction to him that his chosen profession is one that is somewhat revered by the Christ-ian faith because of Jesus early career as a carpenter.
Whatever the case, Joe Cummings best project was the solid life he built in this community, and the fine family he left behind to build on his legacy.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 863-6165, extension 106.)
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