At least seven people so far have put their name in the hat to fill the at-large Winder City Council seat left vacant after Holly Sheats’ resignation last month, including a former council member. And there could be more on the way before the special qualifying period closes at the end of this week.

Former Ward 2 councilman Al Brown, who was appointed to the council in 2013 to fill the remainder of the late Charlie Eberhart’s term following his death, was among the seven people who had applied to be appointed to the seat by the rest of the council as of 4 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 10. Brown was elected to a full term in 2015 and was defeated by Kobi Kilgore in his bid for re-election in 2019.

Other candidates who had qualified as of Tuesday afternoon were Robert Lanham, Bobby Yarbrough, Power Evans, Pam Powell, Jerry Martin and David Brock.

Lanham, a longtime observer of city government and regular attendee of council meetings, ran unsuccessfully against Sheats for the at-large post in 2019. He was also among the seven candidates who interviewed for Eberhart’s seat in 2013. Lanham currently chairs the Winder Planning Board and is a member of the Barrow County Planning Commission. Brock is also a member of the city’s planning board. Meanwhile, Powell was among a large contingent of residents who recently spoke out against the city’s planned doubling of its millage rate during a slate of public hearings on the increase. That proposed increase, amid intense backlash from residents, along with the city’s adoption of a fiscal year 2022 budget in a split vote, played a large part in Sheats’ decision in late July to step down a little over 18 months into her first term on the council.

Qualifying for the at-large seat is free and open to all city residents and is scheduled to end at noon Friday, Aug. 13. Anyone interested in filling the seat is asked to contact Monica Franklin, Barrow County’s director of elections and voter registration, by phone at 770-307-3110, by email at mfranklin@barrowga.org or by fax at 770-307-1054.

The council is scheduled to appoint Sheats’ replacement at its Sept. 2 meeting, and the new member will be sworn in at the Sept. 7 meeting. The person chosen will fill the remainder of Sheats’ term, which expires at the end of 2023, and will be up for election that year.

GENERAL MUNICIPAL ELECTION QUALIFYING

Meanwhile, qualifying for the Nov. 3 municipal elections across the county is set for next week.

In Winder, qualifying for the seats held by Sonny Morris (Ward 1), Jimmy Terrell (Ward 3) and Chris Akins (at-large) will be Monday through Thursday, Aug. 16-19, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Friday, Aug. 20, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the county elections office, 233 East Broad St., Winder. The qualifying fee for each of those seats is $180.

In Auburn, qualifying for the citywide council seats held by Robert Vogel III and Bill Ackworth will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Aug. 16-19 and 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Aug. 20 at city hall, 1369 Fourth Ave. The qualifying fee for each seat is $144.

In Statham, qualifying for the citywide council seats held by Tammy Crawley, Betty Lyle and Dwight McCormic will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Aug. 16-19 and 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Aug. 20 at city hall, 327 Jefferson St. The qualifying fee for each seat is $180.

In Bethlehem, qualifying for the town council seats held by Bryan Bell (Post 1), Joe Price (Post 3) and Tommy Buchanan (Post 5) will be from 12-4:30 p.m. Aug. 16-19 at town hall, 750 Manger Ave. The qualifying fee for each seat is $22.50.

And in Carl, qualifying for the mayor’s seat currently held by David Brock (no relation to the Winder council candidate) and the town council seats held by Frank Cheely and James Shedd will be from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Aug. 17-18 and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 19 at town hall, 1690 Carl-Bethlehem Rd. The qualifying fees are $86.40 for the mayor’s seat and $72 for each council seat.

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