Chalk announces bid for Warner Robins mayor

bpurser@macon.comMay 21, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- A retired U.S. Air Force intelligence officer who is a logistics manager at Robins Air Force Base announced his bid Tuesday for Warner Robins mayor.

“Today, I am announcing my candidacy for mayor of Warner Robins to lead a city where the citizens are the most well-informed and engaged participants in our march toward our common goals,” said Chuck Chalk, who served in the Air Force for about 20 years and has worked in civil service at Robins for more than six years. “I will use my education and skills in public administration, leadership and business management to bring vision, long-term planning and openness to our city government.

“Together, with your support, I believe that we can capture the greatness of Warner Robins and craft our own future as a world-class center of excellence and competence,” he said.

His announcement brought applause from more than 30 supporters assembled on the south lawn of the Warner Robins Recreation Department on Watson Boulevard.

Chalk, 46, is the second to officially announce his intention to enter the Warner Robins mayoral race. Retired long-term city firefighter Randy Toms previously announced his bid. Qualifying for the November election is in August.

The campaign is Chalk’s second bid for public office as well as his second run for mayor. First-term Mayor Chuck Shaheen bested Chalk by fewer than 200 votes in the Dec. 1, 2009, runoff for the post. Shaheen has not publicly said whether he will run for re-election.

In a race that’s expected to field several candidates, Chalk said he does expect to benefit from name recognition and a strong voter turnout in 2009. He also has the experience of that campaign.

“It creates an advantage, but certainly I have nothing to rest on,” Chalk said.

Chalk said the city is still facing some of the same issues as when he ran in 2009. The late Donald Walker had held the post from 1994 until his death Sept. 28, 2009.

“The transition from a ... Walker-mayoral stead and moving on from that -- transition into something toward the future -- we just haven’t quite made those steps,” Chalk said. “Our city government, as you know, for a couple of years fought publicly, and frankly embarrassed the city.

“In the last couple years, it’s been somewhat more effective, but I think we can do a lot better ... and I think great leadership can take us there.”

Chalk said his vision for the city is cooperation.

Chalk was asked about a reference in his announcement to “fear and discouragement.”

His statement: “With my leadership, I believe that instead of fear and discouragement, we can face each day with purpose and commitment, and we can look forward to a brighter tomorrow.”

Chalk said that there’s “a general sense of intimidation within City Hall.” He noted the case of Faye Coulter, a longtime assistant to the mayor, who claims she was unjustly pushed out of the job and subjected to a hostile work environment. The mayor hasn’t addressed specific accusations but in general has said they are untrue.

“The greatest resource you have within any operation, business or city government or agency is the people,” Chalk said. “You can buy machinery. You can buy buildings. But it’s the people who’s going to put that stuff to work. You really need to encourage ... and motivate people so they can operate.”

Telegraph archives were used in this report. To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

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