Twiggs group to decide soon on recall of commission chairman

Twiggs County residents who have been pushing a recall campaign against County Commission Chairman Ray Bennett are now reconsidering.

Campaign leader Walt Ashby said a group of people have been rethinking the idea, not because they don’t want to recall Bennett but because they’re worried about adding expenses through special elections or diverting focus from other efforts. The group plans to decide this week.

“We have several fish to fry, and that recall is one of many,” Ashby said Wednesday.

Bennett told The Telegraph he wouldn’t comment on any allegations against him, because nothing has been filed.

“I serve at the community’s disposal,” Bennett said. “My constituents out there have pros and cons. We’ve done the best we can do and will continue to do that. My service is to the community.”

Ashby has been critical of Bennett’s approach toward a landfill expansion and of the county’s finances. Bennett said the county is coping openly with a difficult economy, and its use of a tax anticipation note to keep the budget afloat is consistent with other years.

“I just applaud the (County Commission’s) actions for meeting the challenges,” Bennett said.

Ashby said a group of concerned residents would reconsider the recall effort Friday. They may volunteer to pay the election costs themselves.

“We’re trying to help the county, not hurt the county,” Ashby said.

Ashby said the other involved residents — whom he declined to identify — are worried about problems that include apparent pollution from the Wolf Creek Landfill, which recently withdrew its applications for an expansion project.

Ashby said he also hopes to coordinate with other residents who have talked about seeking recalls of other commissioners.

Twiggs County Elections Superintendent Marette Fair said elections typically cost $5,000 to $8,000.

A single recall effort could lead to two special elections — one to consider the recall effort, and if approved, one to appoint a replacement. Such special elections can sometimes be held concurrently with existing elections, which adds no costs.

To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.