OUR VIEW: Leadership has changed fast in LaGrange

Published 10:30 am Friday, January 27, 2023

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It wasn’t surprising when both Willie Edmondson and Jim Arrington announced Tuesday night that they were resigning their seats on the LaGrange City Council to run for mayor.

Yet, it was so unusual that it had us reflecting on an incredibly fast three months of change in LaGrange. 

First, Mayor Jim Thornton resigned his position in November to take a job with the Georgia Municipal Association. 

At that time, LaGrange was still trying to replace the seat of the late LeGree McCamey, and eventually did after Leon Childs won a run-off over Quay Boddie.

Then Fire Chief John Brant resigned, followed by the surprising news that Police Chief Lou Dekmar would be retiring.

So when Edmondson and Arrington resigned, that left two more spots on the council. Edmondson’s seat was filled immediately by Boddie as the council basically selected the candidate voters felt was next in line as most-deserving from the recent election. His appointment means the council can still have a quorum to vote on important issues. 

For a brief time after Thornton’s resignation, Edmondson served as mayor-pro tem, but per policy, that changed in January to Mark Mitchell.

Beyond Mitchell, the only council members who have served more than two months are Nathan Gaskin and Tom Gore. Then you have Childs and Boddie. 

For a city that has been fairly steady in leadership for the last handful of years, all of these changes are jarring all at once.

Edmondson or Arrington will be our next mayor once that election is held in March.

And then Arrington’s former council seat will be filled later on, via election (Edmondson’s was in the final year of his term, which is why it was handled differently, and why Boddie was immediately appointed). 

We’d imagine the every day, hard-working citizen is having a hard time keeping up with all of the changes. 

Hopefully, by the of March, all of the changes have worked themselves out, and we’re back to  more stable leadership.