published Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Fort Oglethorpe councilman says candidate not fit to run because he's a volunteer firefighter


by Andy Johns

A complaint filed in Fort Oglethorpe seeks to boot one City Council candidate from the race before the first vote is cast.

Council member Eddie Stinnett filed a challenge saying Steve Brandon is not fit to run for election because Brandon is a volunteer firefighter.

Brandon, a former councilman, is running against Councilman Charles Sharrock and former Councilman Harold Silcox in a race set to be decided Nov. 8. But Brandon's campaign could end Friday, when he's scheduled for a hearing with city Elections Superintendent Orma Luckey.

"It's a shame that I'm being penalized for being a volunteer fireman," Brandon said Monday. "That's ludicrous."

The Georgia Code defines a volunteer firefighter as one who receives no compensation for work other than reimbursement for expense, per diem money, worker's compensation coverage and pension contribution. If the person fits that criteria, the code states "a volunteer firefighter for a county or municipal corporation shall be eligible to serve as a member of the governing authority."

The complaint letter signed by Stinnett states Brandon receives compensation for his work through the city department, so he should not be a councilman.

"[Brandon] is unqualified to seek or hold office as a councilman for the city of Fort Oglethorpe," Stinnett wrote.

Attempts to reach Stinnett Monday were unsuccessful.

Brandon said he receives a maximum of $4.40 per call as reimbursement and that rarely covers his gas.

"I was not a city employee then, and I am not a city employee now," Brandon said.

Brandon said he's also frustrated that Stinnett would file the complaint.

"He's not even in this race," he said. "I can only surmise he doesn't like me on the council."

Sharrock, the incumbent who will battle Brandon and Silcox in the election, said he can't remember a challenge like this in his 40 years around the city. But he said he's not taking sides.

"I'm trying to stay neutral on this issue," Sharrock said. "This is their ballgame, not mine."

Attempts to reach Silcox were unsuccessful.

The hearing is set for 9 a.m. Friday at City Hall, according to Luckey. She said both sides will have a chance to plead their case.

"Each one will have their turn," she said.

Contact staff writer Andy Johns at ajohns@timesfreepress.com or call 423-757-6324.

about Andy Johns...

Andy began working at the Times Free Press in July 2008 as a general assignment reporter before focusing on Northwest Georgia and Georgia politics in May of 2009. Before coming to the Times Free Press, Andy worked for the Anniston Star, the Rome News Tribune and the Campus Carrier at Berry College, where he graduated with a communications degree in 2006. He is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Tennessee ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
please login to post a comment

Other National Articles

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement
400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.