Published Wednesday, November 14, 2012
By JOHN A. WINTERS
Newnan City Council members will run for one of two specific seats within their newly created district, under a proposal approved unanimously Tuesday.
The decision means the city will have an additional council member for two years, and one of the council members in the newly created District 3 will become a citywide representative.
Council considered two final proposals presented by city staff: One called for at-large voting with the two top vote-getters in each district winning; the second would have candidates run for one of two assigned “posts” or seats within in the district and the top vote-getter in each race winning.
In its last meeting, council decided to split the city into three large districts with two representatives in each under a new redistricting plan. Tuesday’s discussion centered over how those members would be elected.
“After further consideration, staff recommends going with the two-post district,” said City Manager Cleatus Phillips.
After approving the voting plan, council also approved assigning existing council members to specific posts.
Here’s how it works out:
District 1: Post A will be represented by Clayton Hicks. Post B is open and an election for a two-year term will be held in 2013. Thereafter, both those seats will be up for re-election in 2015 for four-year terms.
District 2: Post A will be represented by Rhodes Shell. Post B by Ray DuBose. Both seats are up for re-election in 2013 and are for four-year terms.
District 3: Post A will be represented by George Alexander. Post B by Cynthia Jenkins. The third council member in that new district, Bob Coggin, will become the at-large representative for the entire city until the next election for those seats in 2015. That’s because otherwise District 3 would have three council members.
Because of dramatic population shifts and annexations, one district east of Interstate 85 represented by Hicks now has about half the population. The city is required to redistrict every 10 years to ensure adequate representation.
The district and voting plans still have to be approved by the U.S. Justice Department. The next city elections, including the mayoral race, will be in 2013 and new members seated in January 2014.