The votes in Butts County's elections held Tuesday were totaled for those present at the Elections Office when the results came in. Voters approved a one-cent sales tax, Sunday alcohol sales in two cities, and chose new mayors in two cities.
The cities of Jackson and Flovilla will each see new mayors soon, as Jackson voters elected Wayne Phillips, and Flovilla voters chose Scott Chewning, in elections held Tuesday.
Phillips, 68, was the former mayor pro tem, and has served on the Jackson City Council for the past 26 years. He temporarily filled Charlie Brown’s mayoral duties, following Brown’s resignation, before Phillips resigned himself from his City Council seat in order to qualify for the mayoral post.
According to the uncertified election results announced Tuesday, Phillips garnered 476 votes to Ricky “P-Nut” Johnson Jr.’s 137, winning the election with 77.65 percent of the votes.
“I'm very happy with the result, and I owe a great debt of gratitude to all of my great friends and supporters, and family that worked for me throughout the campaign,” said Phillips. “I also owe a great debt of gratitude to the citizens of Jackson that had faith in me, that want to see the continuation of our city. I intend on running the city as if it was my own business. I pledge that to everyone that turned out and voted for us today.”
He is expected to be sworn in as mayor, filling Brown’s unexpired term, soon after the results of the election are certified.
Phillips’ opponent in the race, Johnson, 34, is a Jackson native and longtime youth recreation coach. Johnson has worked for nearly two years as a support coordinator for the Griffin Area Resource Center, a private nonprofit that works with developmentally disabled adults.
Johnson could not be reached for comment Tuesday night. His father said by phone that the younger Johnson was traveling and was unavailable.
Flovilla voters elected Scott Chewning, 41, as their new mayor. Chewning edged out Harvey Norris, the incumbent of 19 years.
According to the uncertified results, Chewning garnered 82 votes to Norris’ 65, winning the election with 55.78 percent of the votes.
Chewning, a pastor and student at Luther Rice Seminary and University, has been heavily involved in missionary work both in the local community and abroad. He has previously served as a Flovilla city councilman, and said he decided to run for mayor because he feels that city funding could be used differently.
“I just thank the voters and all the people that helped, because I didn't really do a lot myself. It was just people that wanted me in, and I appreciate that,” said Chewning. “I will do the best that I can for the City of Flovilla. I look forward to working with the past administration, to make the transition easy and smooth and to keep doing the best for the city as a whole.”
Norris, chief of the Jackson Fire Department, served one term on the Flovilla City Council before being elected mayor in 1991, a position he’s held since then.
“The race went well. I've been in an elected position in Flovilla for 24 years and enjoyed every minute of it, and when it's time for a change, it's time for a change,” said Norris, who also serves as a pastor at New Hope Baptist Church in Flovilla. “Scott and I talked last night, and everything is OK. I'll have things to do and life goes on. It's time for a break and a change of scenery. I have no regrets, and it's time to move on.”
Chewning will assume the mayoral duties following Norris’ current term, which expires Dec. 31.
Also in Flovilla, Glorine Thurman and Willie Morgan will fill two at-large city council seats, unopposed.
In Jenkinsburg, Mayor Kenneth Rooks will be assuming a city council seat, unopposed, as will incumbent Councilwoman Susan Barabas. Jenkinsburg City Councilman David Nestor will be assuming the mayoral post, unopposed.