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Commissioner quitting to run to be chairman
WEB 0115 Lovette
Donald Lovette - photo by Courier file photo

Thursday’s Liberty County Commission meeting was the one for District 2 Commissioner Donald Lovette in his current term.

In January, Lovette announced he will run for the opening chairman seat during this year’s election, and the law prohibits him from maintaining his seat after he qualifies to run.

“It has been my honor to serve this commission ... I just see such a vision for Liberty County. The people are great here, and the potential is awesome here ...,” Lovette said.

Current Chairman John McIver, who is not seeking re-election after more than 30 years of public service, announced the news at the opening of a BoC meeting that began 17 minutes late because of a budget hearing.

“I want to let Commissioner Lovette know that is has been a pleasure working with you over the years ... And he has been a great asset to this board and to Liberty County and to the citizens of his district,” McIver said, eliciting applause from those in the audience.

County Attorney Kelly Davis confirmed that Lovette would be required to quit because Lovette’s current term, which runs through 2014, extends more than 30 days beyond the commencement of the office he is seeking.

County Administrator Joey Brown said the District 2 seat will become vacant upon Lovette’s qualification for election, and there will be a special election to fill the seat for the remainder of the term.

State and local laws require a special election when the remaining term of a vacant seat is six months or more.

The county must meet statutory and constitutional timing requirements when scheduling the special election.

Correspondence from Davis to Brown indicates potential dates that meet the requirement are Sept. 18 and Nov. 6. It is up to the Board of Elections and Registration and the commission to determine when the election will be held.

In a similar situation, the city of Hinesville held a special election in September 2010 to fill the District 2 city council seat that was vacated when Bobby Ryon stepped down to run for sheriff.

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