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Flowery Branch council votes Yardley as mayor pro tem
2 candidates emerge for mayoral election Nov. 2
0928election-kris yardley
Kris Yardley

Qualifying week

Flowery Branch residents interested in running for mayor or the Post 4 City Council seat can submit paperwork through Wednesday at City Hall, 5517 Main St. The special election is Nov. 2. Contact: 770-967-6371.

Flowery Branch is on mayor No. 3 this year as it goes through a busy year of elections and City Council turnover.

Councilman Kris Yardley, elected mayor pro tem at Thursday’s City Council meeting, is now interim mayor. He’ll hold the job until a Nov. 2 special election to fill the mayor and Post 4 seats.

He took the reins from Interim Mayor Mike Miller, who followed through Monday on his intention to run for mayor. By qualifying for the office, he gave up his Post 4 seat.

Michael Lee Pitts, a Mitchell Street resident describing himself as an entrepreneur/musician in his paperwork, also qualified for mayor Monday.

Benchmark Drive resident Joseph Merritt Anglin, a Davis Middle School teacher, qualified for Post 4.

Qualifying for both seats ends Wednesday.

The South Hall city began the year calmly enough, with three residents — all political newcomers — winning their first four-year terms to the council and then-Mayor Diane Hirling winning re-election to a second four-year term.

In April, Councilman Craig Lutz, who was in the third year of a four-year term, resigned to run for the South Hall seat on the Hall County Board of Commissioners. He later won the Republican primary in a runoff and now faces Democrat Paul Wayne Godfrey on Nov. 2.

Hirling then resigned the mayor’s post in May to retire to Florida. Miller, succeeding Lutz as mayor pro tem, took over as interim mayor.

Last Tuesday, Amanda Swafford defeated Chris Strickland to replace Lutz in Post 1 and will serve the remainder of his term.

Yardley, who will preside over his first meeting on Oct. 7, is confident of the city’s direction, regardless of the comings and goings.

“We’re just going to keep the city running under good management and the same course that we’ve been taking, and hopefully we’ll get a good outcome in the elections and keep moving forward with the city,” he said.

As with Post 1, the winners of the mayor and Post 4 seats will serve out unexpired terms.

Speaking about the busy year, “it’s just something that has happened,” said Yardley, 37, a financial adviser and partner in the firm, Fiduciary Capital. “... I think it’s good for the county and the city that we’ve had the opportunity for new leadership to come up.”

The city has faced some scheduling challenges to conduct city business — mainly to come up with a quorum at council meetings. Regular meeting dates had to be changed in August and September.

Despite that, “I think things have gone well,” Yardley said. “There’s never been any kind of situation where we’ve not been able to react to. We’ve continued to move forward on important issues.”

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