Houston & Peach

Fort Valley voters to fill vacant Utility Commission seat

The Fort Valley City Council is moving forward with plans to hold an election to fill the at-large Fort Valley Utility Commission seat left vacant by the death of Walter Lanter in January.

The City Council voted 4-3 Thursday to wait until the November election to decide who will fill the seat. Initially, the City Council was going to interview applicants and appoint someone to the position.

However, Mayor John Stumbo, Mayor Pro Tem John Ezell and City Councilwomen Melba Hester and Beth Collins said with the qualifying time so near, it would make more sense to wait for the election. Once votes are certified in the election, the elected person will take the seat immediately, instead of in January.

City Councilwomen Teresia Dennis, Florine Statham and Barbara Williams voted against it. Statham and Williams said the decision went against the city’s charter which states the mayor and City Council shall appoint someone to the position when a vacancy takes place.