Georgia's main port city will get a new mayor next year. Voters in Savannah will go to the polls on Tuesday to decide which of six candidates will replace Otis Johnson, barred from a third term in office. The city is a player in the state's logistics and tourism sectors, but candidates have focused on setting themselves apart from City Hall's recent past.
Candidates across the state are heading to their local elections offices this week to qualify for municipal elections. Voting day is November 8th. But candidates have until Friday to get in their paperwork to make their runs official. In Savannah, the race for mayor has been slow to heat up. That might be because so many candidates are running.
Recycling advocates in Savannah's Chatham County are hoping to take advantage of a rarely-used power in the state constitution. They want to force a vote to start a curbside recycling program. Georgia's Constitution allows citizen-initiated ballot questions in certain, local cases.
Savannah City Council got a lesson in open government from Georgia's top prosecutor. State Attorney General Sam Olens says, he doesn't want to take elected officials to court, but violations of Georgia's sunshine laws are occurring far too frequently. He was in Savannah because the council violated the law three times.
A member of Savannah City Council says, she didn't receive special treatment when fellow council members paid her $50,000 for flood damage to her home. Many Savannah residents have filed claims against the city in recent years -- saying when it rains, the city's drains don't work and their homes get flooded. But many of council member Mary Osborne's claims fell outside a legal time limit.
The state Attorney General's office says, members of Savannah City Council broke the law three times when they met to discuss hiring a new city manager. The office says, the violations occurred when the council met behind closed doors. In one meeting, council members broke up into teams to interview potential candidates for the city manager position.
Savannah is expected to get its first African-American city manager after a bitter, months-long fight. The search for a new city manager intensified racial divisions as white and black council members exchanged bitter accusations that spun out into the community. One black council member said that a racially-divided vote would be "the nuclear option."
In a pair of 5-4 votes, Savannah City Council members showed that they remain bitterly divided over who should become the city's next chief executive. The split has exposed racial tensions in the city. The votes also present no clear path forward for resolving a long-simmering issue.
Savannah officials are in Atlanta to lobby state lawmakers for coastal projects. But along with them is an ugly rift. Savannah City Council divided along racial lines in a vote to name two finalists for the city's chief executive job.