John Ridley running for City Commission, seeking mayor’s job

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt July 20, 2015
Decatur City Commissioners listen to public comments during a Dec. 15 meeting. File Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Decatur City Commissioners listen to public comments during a Dec. 15 meeting. File Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Former Decatur city commissioner John Ridley is planning to run again for a place on the commission, but this time it will be a little different.

Ridley wants to run for mayor as well. Under Decatur’s form of government, the mayor is elected by fellow commissioners. Current Mayor Jim Baskett is also a commissioner. He will not be seeking another term this year as the city’s only at-large commissioner.

According to Ridley, who served as a commissioner from 1998 to 2002, Decatur’s process for selecting a mayor is unusual in the state of Georgia. He wants to change the city’s current form of government so the mayor can be elected at large.

“The City of Decatur is one of less than 15 city governments in Georgia – which has over 530 incorporated municipalities – that do not have a Mayor elected by all the voters at the ballot box,” a press release from Ridley’s campaign says. “Under State law, the current position of Mayor is a ceremonial post appointed annually by a majority of the five City Commissioners and has no executive or administrative authority.”

Since leaving the commission, Ridley has remained visible in city politics. Notably, Ridley has been critical of the amount of debt Decatur currently owes to pay for various building projects.

According to Ridley’s LinkedIN profile he is retired. He previously worked as an independent consulting architect for The Network Works. “As an independent consultant, I recently completed a contract with ATT involved with ATT’s metro Ethernet infrastructures within the USA,” his profile says. “I have also recently completed a contract as a consultant to a large multinational corporation as a Network Architect.”

Here’s the full press release from Ridley’s campaign:

Dear Editors:

I am pleased to announce that at the July 20th meeting of the Decatur City Commission preliminary notice will be given to the existing Commission and members of the City of Decatur Community that former Decatur City Commissioner John Ridley has filed papers with the appropriate State of Georgia entities in preparation to be a candidate for the Decatur City Commission At Large position being vacated by incumbent James Baskett. A formal announcement will follow in the near future. Following a formal announcement, a web site will become available and the input of the people of Decatur about their concerns and hopes will be encouraged.

This will be a candidacy unlike any other Decatur has ever seen. Mr. Ridley will run a campaign as John Ridley for Mayor in an effort to get an electoral consensus that the current form of government in the City of Decatur be changed to allow all the people of Decatur to elect at the ballot their choice for Mayor with appropriate executive authority that the office of Mayor should contain. The City of Decatur is one of less than 15 city governments in Georgia – which has over 530 incorporated municipalities – that do not have a Mayor elected by all the voters at the ballot box. Under State law, the current position of Mayor is a ceremonial post appointed annually by a majority of the five City Commissioners and has no executive or administrative authority.

Mr. Ridley also says that along with the change in form of government that supporting the City Schools of Decatur should be the city’s number one priority. ” I have a good relationship with our current Decatur City School Board which I consider the best I have ever seen and now is the time for voters to demand that the Decatur City Government put in tangible, serious, and legitimate effort to be supportive of our schools. The time for lip service and behind the scenes interference and non action must end. I look forward to discussing this with anyone, anytime, anyplace. I encourage an open public conversation about supporting our schools and changing the focus of the Decatur City Government from rhetoric to real substantial and obtainable action to support our Decatur City Schools.”

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

View all posts by Dan Whisenhunt

  • Steve Vogel

    He will have to convince the state legislature to change the City Charter.

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