Fort Oglethorpe councilman Eddie Stinnett withdraws election challenge

Fort Oglethorpe councilman Eddie Stinnett withdraws election challenge

September 22nd, 2011 by Andy Johns in News

Eddie Stinnett. Contributed Photo

Eddie Stinnett. Contributed Photo

A Fort Oglethorpe councilman who disputed a council candidate's qualifications to run for office has withdrawn his challenge after getting more information.

"I'd seen that I was wrong, so I just withdrew my challenge," said Eddie Stinnett, who represents Ward 5.

Stinnett's complaint alleged that Steve Brandon is ineligible to run for City Council because he is a volunteer fireman and receives compensation from the city.

Brandon had called the complaint "ludicrous," and the two were slated to go before the city election superintendent Friday for a hearing to resolve the dispute.

"He had zero facts straight," Brandon said. "I was looking forward to it to set the record straight. Nobody's ever pushed him against the wall, and I was looking forward to pushing him to the wall."

Stinnett unseated Brandon for the Ward 5 council seat in 2009 by 11 votes. Brandon has qualified for the Ward 4 seat this year and is running against incumbent Charles Sharrock and former councilman Harold Silcox.

Stinnett said he had been confused about the rules for candidates who are compensated by the city. Once he checked tax documents and talked with the city attorney, he discovered Brandon's compensation was reimbursement and was allowable.

The city code is "misleading when you read it," he said.

Stinnett disputed Brandon's statement in a Times Free Press article Tuesday in which Brandon claimed he was paid a maximum of $4.40 per call. Stinnett cited information on Brandon's 1099 tax form that listed $1,800 in compensation from the city, which he pointed out would be more than a trip a day at $4 per call.

"We need to tell the truth, and let's everybody be on the same page," he said.

Brandon did not dispute the number, but said there were days he has run four of five fire calls. So far in 2011, he has brought in $567 for the calls, he said.