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Rudess Hooper answers Gillsville's call
Former councilman files to fill seat at mayor's request
Rudess Hooper is the new Gillsville city councilman by default. Mayor Larry Poole asked Hooper to consider returning to the council after no one else qualified last week for the March 6 special election.

After two tries, Gillsville has a new Post 5 city councilman.

A second round of qualifying ended Friday with a former council member, Rudess "Rudy" Hooper, turning in the needed paperwork.

"It was about 4 p.m. Friday and no one had qualified, so (Mayor Larry Poole) gave me a call to see if I might be interested in qualifying," Hooper said Monday.

The small East Hall city had hoped to fill Post 5 in the Nov. 8 election.

Two other seats had takers: Jeffrey Dale qualified to run for Post 3 and Herbert Segars qualified for Post 4.

But no one qualified for former councilman Richard Ferguson's seat, so the Nov. 8 election came and went without that office being filled.

So, the city called a March 6 special election and a three-day qualifying period that ended Friday at the Hall County elections office on Browns Bridge Road.

City Attorney David Syfan said that now that the city has just one candidate for the seat, the city doesn't have to hold a vote on March 6, but election results still will have to be certified.

As for Hooper, "I don't see any problem with him (serving) as an acting councilman" until that occurs, Syfan said.

Hooper's term runs until Dec. 31, 2015.

He has served before on the council.

"It's probably been 10 years ago. I was probably on for several years," said Hooper, 76, a retired machinist.

And then, about three years ago, he took over for a councilman who had to step down and undergo some major surgery.

Asked if he had any plans for his new position, he said, "I haven't really thought about it."

Poole said he is pleased Hooper agreed to step back on the council.

“Rudess brings ... a wealth of experience, not only in the operation of a town but also in fostering and maintaining a spirit of community," he said.

"He possesses an unparalleled spirit of cooperation and unity that seems to help drive solutions to whatever problem that presents itself," Poole said. "His integrity is unquestioned, and he and his wife, Carolyn, are well respected by everyone who knows them."

Poole said he had talked to Hooper about the lack of candidates for the Nov. 8 election.

"I asked him if he was interested in coming back on the council and he said ... he'd come back if no one else qualified," Poole said. "So, I thought I'd call (Friday) and let him know, and see if he was interested, and he said he would."

If Hooper had changed his mind about qualifying, Gillsville "could have operated with one less council seat," Poole said.

"We actually talked about whether we wanted to do that, but it would require going before the legislature and changing our charter - a pretty complicated process.

"I'm just really thankful it worked out the way it did."