The Old Switch-A-Roo

Tail wagging the dog

In the past weeks I have heard two stories that are eerily similar, but slightly different concerning the upcoming special elections in Flowery Branch.  Both smack of conspiracy theories, but the similarity of the two stories from two different and unrelated sources makes me think that where there is smoke, there is fire.

Let’s start with a little history.  One year ago, the City Manager of Flowery Branch was on the verge of being ousted.  After surviving the near coup, it appears that the City Manager has taken interest in the candidates and election of the council that would have a vote on his career and salary.

As you know, the two people who stood against the city manager are now gone; Kris Yardley resigned to make a bid for State House and Amanda Swafford was defeated in the November election.  The maneuvering appeared to start with Yardley’s resignation.  While the election won’t be held until this March, the remaining council members set a qualifying date before the November election to (what seems) prevent the losers (Swafford in this case) from being able to run.  With Lutz and a couple of others apparently standing up for their friends by speaking out to the council, the remaining council members dug in.

With the groundwork established, let’s now consider rumors of electioneering; two sources have informed me that Jason Covert has been encouraged drop out of the Post 2 race and enter the Post 4 race.  That would guarantee that a non-Sterling on the Lake resident would be on the board because the remaining candidates, former councilwomen Pat Zalewski and Fred (no relation to Tara) Richards, are from the other side of I-985.  It should also be noted that Post 2 would nearly be a four year term while Post 4 has a little less than 2 years left on the term.

Now, it would seem that this would be the wish of the former council person, Chris Fetterman, when he said in his letter of resignation that “as of right now all four elected officials are from Sterling on the Lake, and not to take away their ability to govern or the fact they do represent the whole city, but equal representation from all areas of the city is needed. With two seats now open, and one set of candidates qualified, I hope other people will run for the seat I am resigning from other areas within the city.”  However, there seems to be an underlying motive to move Jason from post 4 to post 2.

The main difference in the two stories appears to be the driver of the conversation to have Jason Covert swap positions.  One of my sources said that the Mayor is the one who talked to Jason Covert, the other source said it was the City Manager.  While it may have been either or both, I think we can be assured that the conversation took place.

What I see here is a more devious issue at play.  My Sterling on the Lake friend and member of the Armadillo Hat Club informed me that the Mayor, Council Member Richards, and newly elected councilmember Gibbs all had campaign signs for former Councilmember Mary Jones in their front yard.  I have also been made aware that former Councilmember Zalewski is good friends with Mary Jones (he actually said that Zalewski was Jone’s sock puppet).  While Mary Jones lost to Fetterman in the race, my SOTL friend informed me that Jason Covert doesn’t have the name recognition or network of Fetterman and may be a lot weaker against Jones.  Zalewski, on the other hand, could gain support from Richards, Miller and Gibbs to easily defeat Fred Richards; especially if Sterling begins to believe that Mr. Richards has a position on streetlight charges.

It appears that with Councilmember Richards’ impending assignment to Afghanistan the Mayor may be in a place where he can continue to run the council as the tiebreaking vote; but if they are able to manipulate Jason Covert into changing posts, the City Manager may be in a position where his career is absolutely protected for some time to come.

Hugh Hall County Akston                                                    

  1 comment for “The Old Switch-A-Roo

  1. That's what "I" said
    January 24, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Election rigging. I hear that it is by both the mayor and the city manager. Let me clarify and give you the why of it all. Mayor Mike Miller went to see Jason Covert at his home to ask him to step aside in the post 3 election. This would clear the way for two people from outside Sterling to run for the post. You see if Covert were to win and another person from Sterling win the other open seat all six elected officials for Flowery Branch would come from one neighborhood. A situation the the state of Georgia looks down upon, as it did in Peach Tree city when one neighborhood ran their city. The state came in a districted the city so that it would not violate the one man one vote laws. A situation that some in Sterling were made aware of after they were warned could happen if they kept electing their neighbors in these races. Mayor Miller felt that he needed to step in and engineer the race so that at least one person was from outside Sterling so he could keep his friends on the council, Shame on you Mike Miller. But of course we know you and have met you a few times so we are not surprised by you lack of tack and intelligence.

    But lets take it a step further, to make sure there plan actually worked Mr. Andrews the city Manager approached one of the other candidates and in a round about way (never directly mentioning a need to engineer the race) . He simply stated that another seat was available if that person currently qualified and running would like to drop out and qualify for another seat. Again virtually guaranteeing that one seat could be won by a non Sterling resident. And Why would he do this, to keep from being redistricted and loosing his patsies on the council. You see Bill Andrews likes to control his bosses. Do not take my word for it ask anyone that knows, if you want to know how Mayor Miller and Tara Richards feel about an issue, just ask Bill Andrews what he coached them to think.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *