With fanfare deserving of the title, Gene Sullivan accepted the office of "mayor" of Evans, a large, fake street sign, a salary of $32 and all the rights, responsibilities and privileges thereto Friday.
The Columbia County News-Times Publisher Barry Paschal (left) and Gordon Renshaw (right), the executive director of the county chamber of commerce, present Gene Sullivan with a street sign and a check for winning The News-Times' mock election for the mayor of Evans.
Photo by Valerie Rowell
"I didn't even know I was nominated until someone told me," Sullivan said. "It was flattering to be nominated. But I saw I was in last place and pride, good old pride wouldn't let us lose this thing. I really didn't care if I won the thing, I just didn't want to come in last."
He didn't. Sullivan has been named the "mayor" of Evans in a reader contest set up by The Columbia County News-Times.
And although for now there isn't an incorporated city of Evans to be the mayor of, officially, Evans was recently named by Money magazine as the 32nd best place to live in America.
"One of the funnier things that came to light when Evans was named the 32nd best place to live by Money magazine was that Evans isn't really a city," said Barry Paschal, the publisher of The News-Times. "As we were trying to determine where exactly Evans is, we found out that the only place it exists is in a written description at the Evans post office.
"People always ask us, 'Where is Evans?' " he said. "It wasn't a question we could really answer. We thought, 'Gosh, wouldn't it be funny if we had a mayor?' "
The contest was designed as a tongue-in-cheek way to honor Evans for its national recognition and to point out it's not a city, Paschal said.
Although Evans isn't incorporated, readers of The News-Times voted Sullivan, a former principal at Evans High School and a retired Richmond County assistant school superintendent, to be its mayor.
A resident of Evans for 25 years, Sullivan ran a tough campaign, beating out five candidates, including Maj. Gen. Janet Hicks, the former commander of Fort Gordon. CutlinePhoto by Valerie Rowell
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