Scott Dean bore a wide grin Tuesday night as he called friends and family from the Evans government complex to let them know he had won the Harlem mayoral race.
New Harlem Mayor Scott Dean, ahd his wife, Renee, celebrate at the Evans Government Complex as election results are tallied.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The 33-year-old husband and father of two spent nearly two years on Harlem's city council, but resigned in August to run for mayor. In only his second election, the first for a council seat, Dean beat current mayor, John Bentley Jr., with more than 62 percent of the 608 votes cast.
"I am a little nervous, but I am excited," Dean said Wednesday. "We have got a team ready to work. As a group, we are all pretty excited and ready to go do what we said we were going to do and that is help Harlem and start working on the business and the communications and really see some good things for Harlem like good quality growth."
Many feel Dean may bring new ideas and renewed vigor to city government.
"I see it as a sign of moving forward," said Debra Moore, the city clerk. "It might be getting things accomplished and not a lot of roadblocks. (Dean) is gung ho and has always been like that. He is a Harlem man."
Dean is not the only new face in Harlem government. After Tuesday'e election one of the two city council seats was filled with John Thigpen getting 338, 34.45 percent, of the 981 ballots cast.
Thigpen always has been active in the community with events such as the Oliver Hardy Festival and regularly attended council meetings. The council seat will be his first official position. He will be attending some mandatory classes for new council members at the beginning of the term beginning with official swearing in Jan. 2.
"I am just waiting to see how things are going to go as far as getting ready to do business," Thigpen said. "I have got a lot to learn and am just learning the ropes. We have a lot of things hopefully planned for next year, things that are good for the city. I am looking forward to a good year and hopefully a fun term."
Despite the new faces, there is still some experience on the city council. Six-year council veteran, the Rev. J. Rudolph Dixon, was elected to another term, this time four years, on the council gaining 37 percent of the votes - 363 ballots.
Dixon said he is willing to share his experience with the new members and mayor.
"They probably know more than I do," Dixon said. "I am there to be the catalyst for all those young people."
City officials including the city manager, clerk, mayor, council, departments heads and elected officials will be attending a retreat in Athens, Ga., this week to discuss and decide on projects, priorities and the budget for next year, Dean said. After completing a few projects, the downtown center will probably be a big focus including how to attract business to the center and how to get visitors to stop and shop.
Most of Harlem, including former mayor, Shirley Tankersley, expect good things from the new mayor during his term.
"I think we have all got to give him a chance," Tankersley said. "He is a young guy and he has got some good ideas. So, we all need to hang with him and give him a chance to do the best he can."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.