Grantville’s mayor not seeking re-election
by Clay Neely
Jim Sells, mayor of Grantville, announced Thursday he will not be seeking re-election in November.
In an interview with The Newnan Times-Herald, Sells explained that he felt it was time for him to leave the position, and, despite the negative attention the city has received over the last few years, he believes that the city is poised to make a positive leap into the future.
With the city now recognized as a Certified Local Government, Grantville will be eligible for grants and other benefits in December.
“We’ve made great progress in these last four years,” Sells said. “I feel that this experience was a positive one, but frankly, I’m exhausted.”
According to Sells, he never intended to be the mayor of Grantville – citing that he only sought the post due to the lack of a viable candidate for the city at the time.
Since his election in 2010, Sells has not been shy in pursuing his vision for the city. From the recent termination of city manager Johnny Williams to the suspension of police chief Doug Jordan, Sells remained unapologetic for any of his decisions, stating they were done for the good of the city and never for personal reasons.
“I’ve always been rooted in the idea of doing right for the citizens I serve, no matter what. I’ve never made any decision based on emotion or personal reasons.” Sells said. “Moving the city Grantville forward has always been the ultimate goal.”
Sells said his decision to not seek re-election was not made in haste, but was culminated by recent remarks from newly-elected council members David Riley and Leonard Gomez following the suspension of ex-police chief Doug Jordan, where the two lambasted Sells over his decision.
“That was the final blow for me,” Sells said. “No matter what, I’m always the bad guy. It just seems that everyone is just waiting around on me to make a decision so they can immediately disagree.”
Citing the recent decision to hire Police Chief Javier Garcia, Sells explained that the decision to bring in an outsider for the role of police chief left many people in the department upset but dispelled the notion of any kind of exodus of police.
“After seeing what goes on around here, I started asking for some accountability and some people really didn’t like that,” Sells said.
“That’s when the phrase ‘hostile work environment’ started to emerge from city hall,” Sells continued. “But, personally, I don’t think asking an employee to actually do their job is unreasonable.”
Since he won’t be seeking re-election in November, Sells hopes he can focus his concentration on the revitalization of downtown Grantville as a businessman.
"Running a successful business and being a politician are two very different things," Sells explained. "I have little patience for the “do nothing” critics that the Internet has given a voice to. They destroy all goodwill and condemn every action; leaving depression and inactivity in their wake."
He joked that he’s also looking forward to being able to take a vacation without a catastrophe happening during his absence.
“Either Selma (Coty) was trying to tear down one of my houses or we were having some problem with the police department,” Sells said. “I’m looking forward to doing some flying, enjoying life and being able to focus on my business.”
But now since ruling himself out of the running, his greatest hope is that someone will step into the race to take his place before Aug. 27, the last day to qualify as a mayoral candidate.
“It’s so vitally important for people to know what’s at stake for this election,” Sells said. “We’re in a great place to keep our town moving forward and I can only hope that someone will step forward to keep our city moving in the right direction.”