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Commerce, Gillsville hold special elections
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Gillsville election
What: Post 2 and unopposed elections for mayor and Post 1
Candidates: Phil Ferguson and James Butler for Post 2; Larry Poole for mayor; Roy Turpin for Post 1
When: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today
Where: Gillsville Park, Gillsville

Commerce election
What: Ward 5
Candidates: Johnny Eubanks and Steve Ayers
When: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today
Where: Public Safety Complex, 1491 S. Elm St., Commerce

From staff reports

Believe it or not, today is an election day.

A special election will be held to fill seats on the city councils of two local towns.

Gillsville has two candidates vying for the vacant Post 2 seat while Commerce voters will be charged with choosing a candidate to fill the unexpired term of the late Richard Massey.

In November, nobody ran for Gillsville’s Post 2 seat. Mayor Larry Poole and Councilman Roy Turpin were re-elected unopposed.

Left with a City Council that was one person short, the council decided to hold a special election and open up all three seats for re-election.

Poole and Turpin will once again run unopposed, but this time Phil Ferguson and James Butler are hoping for the Post 2 seat.

Butler, 56, lives on the Banks County side of Gillsville. He said he would bring a voice to represent the residents of Gillsville in Banks County.

“Right now there is no one on the board that lives in Banks County,” Butler said.

Butler has worked in the automobile business for 39 years. He and his wife Pam have one son and two grandchildren.

He said he wants to be on the council to get more involved and help out the city.

“If you want to do something you’ve got to be a part of it,” Butler said. “I want to see what I could do to better the community.”

Ferguson did not return phone calls from The Times before press time.

In Commerce, two candidates have stepped up to fill Massey’s position as Ward 5 councilman. Massey died in October after 19 years on the council.

Johnny Eubanks and Steve Ayers are both making their second bid for the City Council to fill Massey’s term, which ends at the end of 2011.

Eubanks, 58, is a lifelong Commerce resident and a manufacturing manager of Baldor Dodge Reliance. He currently serves on the city’s planning commission and spent nine years as chief of the Commerce Fire Department and 29 as a volunteer firefighter for the department.

Eubanks said the city needs more industry and jobs and to improve the infrastructure while keeping taxes and utility charges low.

“I just want to get involved again,” Eubanks said. “I want to help the city. I feel like I’ve protected it for 29 years as a firefighter, and I want to do that on the council.”

Ayers, 62, has lived in Commerce for 25 years. The retired driver for Exxon and Amoco said the city’s infrastructure is in bad need of repairs, and he can bring needed change to the council.

“I think it’s time for a change — a good change,” Ayers said. “What needs to be changed? The whole City Council. I think we can go in another direction and make more progress ... I just think that I could do a good job.”

Both elections will be held 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today.