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Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 4:28am

Voters: Stakes In Warner Robins Election Couldn't Be Higher

Warner Robins will pick a mayor Tuesday, or at least narrow the wide open six-way field down to two.

Nothing less than the future of the city itself hangs in the balance, said voter Ron Collins who is retired from the construction industry.

Federal officials are likely to convene a Base Realignment and Closure Commission, or BRAC, during the next mayor’s watch. Therefore the election, Collins said, "is going to determine whether Robins Air Force Base stays here or closes."

"We're going to have to do something about some of the eastern portion of the town, our slum areas, more or less. Hopefully the new mayor will act on it. The others have done a good job of talking about it, very little to actually accomplish anything," Collins said.

Shirley Madison already voted early, she said, and hopes the next mayor will improve relations between the mayor’s office and city council.

"There’s been so much bickering down there, you know everybody's been fussing and going on, I think they need to work together. If they work together, I think they'll do a better job," Madison said. "I think they'll do a better job for the community if people work together and quit, you know, back-biting each other."

Meanwhile the Warner Robins City Council voted Monday to settle a lawsuit filed by outgoing mayor Chuck Shaheen’s former assistant. Faye Coulter alleges she was the victim age and sex discrimination and years of verbal abuse from Shaheen.

The settlement will allow Coulter to retire with all benefits, but does not give her any of the half million dollars she sought. Shaheen told The Telegraph he feels vindicated by the outcome.

"Not one employee justified one of [Coulter's] claims," Shaheen said. "I wish her the best in her future endeavors."

Shaheen is not seeking reelection but is instead trying for a city council seat.