Two Ludowici residents will ask a judge to force an election to fill two open city council spots.
Janis Goode and Price Chapman Jr. said they will ask a superior court judge to force the city to fill vacant seats in the 3rd and 4th districts. The 3rd District seat has been vacant since May 24 when Frank McClelland Jr. relinquished his position to run for sheriff. The 4th District spot will become vacant next week when Councilman Johnny Manning resigns due to his move to Florida.
Goode and Chapman said they have asked the council several times to call an election for the 3rd District opening. Now, they say they have been told the 4th District vacancy will delay any city election.
“I think that (Mayor) James (Fuller) wants to keep these spots open as long as possible so he can do whatever he wants to do and be a dictator in Ludowici,” Chapman said.
“(City Attorney) Joe (Kitchings) and the mayor are stalling, not wanting to have an election any time soon,” Goode said. “I believe they know I’m running for the 4th District, and they’re trying to get somebody else in there.”
Fuller said neither he, the city attorney nor the council is stalling the election. He said the board of elections has recommended a delay until the city’s district map has been corrected.
“Hey, we all see what has happened with the county commissioners and the board of education," Fuller said. "We are out of alignment in our city by 91.5 percent. These districts need to be right before we have an election, or we could be in trouble with the justice department, too.”
Goode and Chapman said they have asked to plead their case to a judge Oct. 3.
Chapman said he has attended council meetings and contacted the offices of U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston and the secretary of state about the election.
“I was told by the secretary of state’s office that an election can be held now, but they didn’t give me anything in writing,” Chapman said. “I hope that by going through the court, either the judge can make a ruling, or at least get to the bottom of it, and put something in writing where a decision can be made.”
Fuller said the city can function without a full council.
“When (Mayor) Sammy (Stapleton) died, Myrtice (Warren) was on the city council. She also was the mayor pro tem, so she replaced him as mayor. The city didn’t have a replacement for her for almost a year in the 1st District, so even though I would like to see these seats filled, we can get by without them,” Fuller said.
“Janis and Price are out of line with saying that I have some ulterior motive."