Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin Davis sent out an email message just before 2 p.m. today saying that he plans to retire when his current term ends on Dec. 31 rather than seek reelection for what would be a fifth term.
Commissioner John Daniell told me in a telephone conversation just after 3 p.m. that he will seek the chairmanship position.
Daniell’s decision means that in addition to the position of Commission chair, three Commission posts will be up for election this year, since Daniell must resign his slot as soon as he files qualifying papers for the chair position in early March.
Pat Hayes, chair of the Oconee County Board of Elections and Registration, told me this morning that she thinks she can hold the primary election for Daniell’s post on May 24, the same date as the primary for the other two open posts.
Commissioner Mark Saxon told me just before 3 p.m. today that Davis’ retirement does not change his plans to seek reelection to his current post, and Commissioner Jim Luke told me a few minutes later that the announcement does not affect his plans to retire.
So far, Daniell is the only one who has expressed any interested in the chair’s position, though others might come forward, and even Davis might reconsider, before the filing deadline on noon on March 11.
Other Names For Commissioner
Mark Thomas, a member of the Oconee County Board of Education, told me last night–and again in a telephone conversation this afternoon–that he is considering resigning from his BOE post and seeking a seat on the Board of Commissioners.
Sarah Bell, who came within 100 votes of defeating Davis in 2008, has told me that she is considering running for one of the Commission seats.
Chuck Horton, former Commissioner who challenged Davis unsuccessfully in 2012, told me this morning he is not ready to make an announcement regarding his plans.
Current Commissioner William “Bubber” Wilkes told me late last year that he did not plan to seek the position of chair. Wilkes has been a stalwart in attending Commission meeting, but he has made no secret of his being in poor health.
All current commissioners are Republicans., and the Republican primary usually determines the election outcomes in Oconee County.
A runoff election for the primary, if necessary, would be on July 26.
The general election is Nov. 8.
Davis’ Retirement Email
Davis sent an email message to citizens serving on county committees and separately to “friends.”
The message to friends follows:
I wanted to share with you, prior to your hearing by the grapevine or reading in the newspaper, that I will retire as Oconee County Commission Chair at the end of this term of office. Esther and I plan to spend time together with some travel and participating in the many, many family activities with our children and grandkids.
It has been a real pleasure to work with each of you in various capacities during the past 16 years. Your assistance has enabled all of us to better serve our citizens and has made Oconee County a better place to live, work and play.
I look forward to the remainder of this term and continuing our fine working relationship during the next several months.
Davis sent me the message addressed to “friends.” I sent him a request last week for any announcement, which had been rumored, and again this morning.
Commissioners Daniell and Luke told me Davis informed them of his decision after the Commission meeting last night.
Davis’ retirement is the lead story in tomorrow’s edition of The Oconee Enterprise.