Candidates DQ’d in municipal elections

Published 3:29 pm Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Candidates in Hogansville and LaGrange have been disqualified from the upcoming election for not meeting residency requirements.

Hogansville mayoral candidate Frederick Manley and LaGrange City Council candidate Chad Cooper were both disqualified earlier this month. Each candidate had a hearing and at each, it was ruled that they did not meet the qualification requirements to run for the public office they were seeking.

Manley was running against current Hogansville Mayor Bill Stankiewicz and Winston Herren for Hogansville mayor.

“His residency qualifications were called into question by way of a complaint by a citizen,” said Hogansville City Clerk Lisa Kelly.

“We held a hearing Sept. 6 and we took testimony from him, and we took testimony from some other witnesses. He did not prove sufficiently that he was a citizen of Hogansville, so he was disqualified as a candidate.”

Manley said he originally filed an appeal, but decided a court battle wasn’t in the best interest of the people of Hogansville.

“The issue at hand was my residency and being in the city for at least a year. I feel I accomplished that and that was the real issue at hand,” Manley said. “It was a position that I was excited about, but I think others wanted it more. I decided to let them have it.”

He said he’ll continue to work in the community, regardless of not having the extra title of mayor.

“It was hard rescinding my appeal through my attorney, but it was not the way I wanted to win,” Manley said.

Andrew Harper, election supervisor for the city of LaGrange, said Cooper didn’t meet the residential requirements either.

Cooper’s disqualification means Nathan Gaskin will run unopposed in the council’s 2A seat, which is being vacated by Norma Tucker.

Cooper’s hearing was held on Sept. 12 and he was aware of the decision that day., Harper said. Harper said Cooper was given written notice the next day. Cooper said it wasn’t a secret that he didn’t vote in LaGrange last year, but he was told that it wouldn’t be an issue.

“If you knew I couldn’t run, because I voted somewhere else last year, you should’ve told me during qualifying,” Cooper said.

Cooper works for the housing authority and is a part of several grassroots organizations, so he said his work in the community will continue.

“I’m very active in the community so being on the city council seemed like the right next step. Nobody has to tell me a lot of the issues and problems,” Cooper said. “A lot of people have to [be told] problems, but I’m out here face to face. A lot of the issues and concerns don’t reach the right people. I’m regularly involved, I go to city council meetings on the regular, the board of education — I’m very active. But not being on the city council is not going to stop the plans that I have in wanting to help the community grow.”