LaGrange sets election qualifying fees as city tries to maneuver through upcoming mayoral election

Published 8:00 am Monday, January 16, 2023

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The City of LaGrange is planning for a hotbed of municipal elections in 2023.

Three city council seats will be up for election on Nov. 7. The seats currently held by Councilmen Mark Mitchell, Leon Childs and Willie Edmondson will see their positions up for grabs in November.

During the LaGrange City Council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 10, the council voted to establish qualifying fees to run for the seats at 3% of the council member’s salary, which is $288.

The qualifying fees for the special election to replace former Mayor Jim Thornton were similarly set at $600 when the city called for that election in mid-December. The special election will be held on March 21.

Council members Edmondson and Jim Arrington have announced their intentions to seek the seat. The act of qualifying will automatically force the resignation of any current council members, so to allow for a quorum at the Jan. 24 council meeting, both men have agreed to wait to qualify until Jan. 25, the last day of qualifying.

Once Edmondson and Arrington qualify, the remaining council members will need to appoint someone to replace Edmondson’s seat on the council in order to have a quorum for subsequent council meetings.

For Arrington’s seat, the city will have to hold a special election because he still has three years left on his term. Because Edmondson has less than a year left, the city can appoint someone to his seat.

The remaining four council members, Mitchell, Childs, Gore, and Gaskin, will need to decide on a replacement. If they cannot agree on a replacement within 45 days, the governor would appoint that person, under state law.

Mitchell, who was selected as mayor pro-tem earlier in the meeting, suggested that Edmondson and Arrington could potentially resign at the close of the council meeting on Jan. 24, and the remaining council could immediately appoint Edmondson’s replacement and swear them in.

The move would allow the council to conduct any subsequent emergency business if needed, he said.