published Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Voters will fill Fort Oglethorpe Councilman Eddie Stinnett's seat March 19

Fort Oglethorpe will hold a special election March 19, 2013, to fill the seat of Councilman Eddie Stinnett, who died Nov. 28 after a heart attack.

The election could cost about $10,000, including three weeks of early voting, officials said. Three paid election workers will staff the polls.

"You have to have it," Election Superintendent Orma Luckey said after she presented a call for the special election at Monday night's City Council meeting.

The City Charter states that an election shall be held if a council member dies with more than six months left to serve. With less than six months, the council simply can appoint a replacement, City Manager Ron Goulart said.

Stinnett's four-year term was set to expire this year, so whoever wins his seat will have to run again on Nov. 5.

"If you run for it, you're going to have to want it awful bad," Goulart said. "Because you're going to have to run for it again in a few months."

Residents who pay a qualifying fee of $255 and pass a state ethics review can run for the at-large seat, Luckey said.

A candidate must fill out a qualifying form and give it to City Clerk Carol Murray during the three-day qualifying period -- Jan. 28-30.

Early voting will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at City Hall from Feb. 25 through March 15, officials said.

Absentee ballots will be available beginning Feb. 25. Carol Murray at 866-2544 ext. 1300 has absentee ballot applications.

The last day to register to vote in the special election is Feb. 19. Should a runoff be required, it will be held April 16.

The seats of Councilmen Earl Gray and Louis Hamm also are up for grabs in November.

Former Councilman Charles Sharrock's seat is in limbo. The council ousted him on Nov. 26 after accusations he was sexually harassing city employees, but Sharrock can appeal in Catoosa County Superior Court.

Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at tomarzu@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6651.

about Tim Omarzu...

Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.

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