Pat Vaughn was reelected to her third four-year term as Powder Springs’ mayor on Tuesday, defeating former Police Chief L. Rick Richardson and Paul Moore.
“I am thrilled that the voters have faith and confidence in me to serve a third term as mayor and to serve five terms altogether,” said Vaughn, who served as a councilwoman from 1996 until she began as mayor in 2004.
She gained nearly 55 percent of the vote; Richardson had just under 30, and Moore, who was her sole contender in 2007, earned about 15. (Unofficial vote totals are at the end of this article.)
Looking forward, Vaughn told Patch that she hopes to focus on economic development and bring more businesses to the city. One step toward that will be the development of a “south square” next to the current town square, she said, adding that the project has “been on the table for a while.”
When asked why she believed voters have elected her five times, Vaughn said: “If I made a promise, I kept that promise to the citizens. If something would have come up and I could not keep that promise, I would go to the citizens and let them know the reason the promise couldn’t be kept.”
Vaughn, 63, said she has “always had a great council to work with,” and that serving as a councilwoman under “two great mayors”—Richard Sailors and Brad Husley—“helped develop me into the strong mayor I am today.”
“I think we’ve shown a lot of progress in the last 16 years,” she said.
When Election Day ballots were added to early vote totals, 1,470 Powder Springs residents had voted in the mayoral election, 1,395 in the at-large Post 1 council race, and 1,426 for Post 2.
Using the mayoral total and dividing it by the 7,918 registered voters in the city puts this election’s turnout at 18.5 percent. That’s up more than 2 percent from the last mayoral race in 2007, when 1,171 people voted out of the 7,102 registered at the time. (See videos of residents talking about the importance of voting by .)
Perhaps what drew at least a few extra voters to this election was a highly contentious mayoral race.
Richardson had been on the force since 1983 and had served as chief since 1994. He was last November and for allegedly going against an action voted on by the City Council in March 2007.
It was then members declared several city vehicles—including three police Crown Victorias—as surplus, meaning they would be sold at an auction to the highest bidder. Richardson was fired for allegedly being the sole authorizer of those three vehicles being directly sold for undervalued amounts—two to other police departments, and one to the private Code Seven Police Supply.
Richardson contended throughout his campaign that Vaughn, who was also acting city manager at the time, verbally authorized the sale of the vehicles by phone. He also from incidents surrounding a lawsuit filed by his brother, Ray Richardson, who was fired as deputy police chief in 2007.
Along with , Vaughn responded to both allegations by by the APeal Agency. She provided the test results, as well as , at October’s at
Another brought up by Richardson was Vaughn being paid to serve as both mayor and city manager from December 2005 to April 2007. City documents show council members voting in an executive session, followed by an email from then-Finance Director Gina Auld saying the mayor’s $1,500 monthly paycheck should be increased by $3,000 while she served in both roles.
“The council, on their own, realized I was having to work three jobs: mayor, acting city manager, and my own property management business,” . “I was having to pay someone to do the work in my absence from my business that I would not have to pay if I were not at all day. Accordingly, the council unanimously authorized a temporary increase in the mayor’s salary until we could find a city manager.”
the Powder Springs Code of Ordinances, which says: “In eligibility of elected official. Except where authorized by law, neither the mayor nor any councilmember shall hold any other elective or compensated appointive office in the city or otherwise be employed by said government or any agency thereof during the term for which he was elected.”
The mayor said that, in defense of the council at the time, members were unaware of any law violation. “They acted out of concern for the enormous amounts of time I was donating to the city at a personal financial loss to myself,” she wrote.
She also said her city manager pay wasn’t “even one-third of a city manager’s salary for a city the size of Powder Springs, which averages $120,000 per year.”
She added: “There was never an outcry from a single council member or any citizen. There was never a challenge to the temporary increase in the mayor's pay, and the executive session affidavit and the resolution involved were signed by the council, all of the council. For this to be brought up at this particular time, after all these years, proves that this is a cheap shot by someone who does not have the best interest of the city at heart.”
But now that the campaign debates are over, Vaughn said she hopes to return focus to those who prompted her to run in the first place: the city’s citizens.
“Regardless of some of the things that are said, I do listen to the people,” she said. “In all three wards, I talk to the people and I listen to the people.”
Here are the unofficial vote totals from the Cobb County Board of Elections and Registration:
Pat Vaughn: 805 (54.76%)
L. Rick Richardson: 439 (29.86%)
Paul Moore: 224 (15.24%)
Write-in: 2 (.14%)
At-Large Post 1
Rosalyn Neal: 769 (55.13%)
Rick Perry: 624 (44.73%)
Write-in: 2 (.14%)
At-Large Post 2
Chris Wizner: 921 (64.59%)
Tom Bevirt: 503 (35.27%)
Write-in: 2 (.14%)
Updates From the Polls Tuesday
9:23: With two of three precincts reporting, Mayor Pat Vaughn is still in the lead. Here is the breakdown: Vaughn 431, Richardson 250, Moore 146; Neal 434, Perry 353; Wizner 543, Bevirt 260
8:37: Still no numbers reported from the three Powder Springs precincts; only the early votes below.
8:07: More figures are in. The totals are now: Vaughn 121, Richardson 38, Moore 19; Neal 115, Perry 49; Wizner 106, Bevirt 66
7:57: Early vote totals show Mayor Pat Vaughn in the lead in the mayoral race with 111 votes. L. Rick Richardson has 36, while Paul Moore has 17.
In the council races, Rosalyn Neal leads Rick Perry, 105 to 45; and Chris Wizner leads Tom Bevirt, 96 to 62.
7:24: Don't forget to of people at the polls today discussing what the right to vote means to them.
7:11: Polls closed 11 minutes ago. The final vote count at the Coach Ford Center precinct was 644, which is about 16.5 percent of the precinct's 3889 registered voters. At least one person there just missed the 7 p.m. deadline and couldn't vote.
6:45: Only about 15 minutes left to vote. Better get moving!
6:26: Voters going to the Coach Ford Center will definitely play a major role in who gets elected. As of 6 p.m., 569 people had cast their votes there. Officials there say they've averaged about 50 voters an hour. With 30 minutes left to go, the after-work crowd is slowly trickling in.
6:15: As night falls on Powder Springs, a Vaughn supporter has joined the Richardson supporters outside the Coach Ford Center precinct.
5:45: Have you voted yet? If so, give us a simple "I voted!" in the comments below.
5:38: Time for a pizza break. Anyone want to join me at the near Tapp Middle?
5:24: The current vote total for the Ron Anderson Center precinct is 175—by far the lowest number of the three Powder Springs precincts.
5:14: The sun is getting close to setting. Less than two hours left before the polls close at 7 p.m.
5:08: I apologize for infrequent updates. The Internet connection is quite bad out here. See three more videos of residents talking about the privilege to vote by .
4:07: Folks still slowly trickling into the First Baptist Church. of people talking about the right to vote uploaded.
3:22: The vote count at the First Baptist Church stands at 255. There are a few Richardson supporters there and at the Coach Ford Center.
2:58: To see videos of residents outside the polls talking about the right to vote, .
2:28: Shortly before 2 p.m., election workers at the Coach Ford Center said 310 residents cast their ballots at the polling location. I just talked with citizens about what the right to vote means to them, and I will have those videos posted soon.
Information Published Before the Polls Opened
The months of campaigning and mudslinging, debating and —it all comes down to today, Election Day in Powder Springs.
Citizens will be casting their ballots in three races:
- Mayor: Paul Moore, L. Rick Richardson, Pat Vaughn (incumbent)
- At-large Post 1 council seat: Rosalyn Neal (incumbent), Rick Perry
- At-large Post 2 council seat: Tom Bevirt (incumbent), Chris Wizner
For a sample ballot, .
The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The three precincts are:
If you’re unsure of which precinct you should go to, check your voter card, go to the secretary of state’s “My Voter Page” or call the Cobb elections office at 770-528-2581.
Check back with Patch after the polls close for results.
During early voting, 176 of the 7,918 registered voters in Powder Springs cast their ballots, with 12 doing so by mail.
In 2007’s mayor and council elections, 1,171 people voted of the 7,102 registered voters at the time.
During the council elections in 2009 for the city's three wards, 655 residents voted out of the 5,847 who were eligible.
Here are links to all of Patch's articles from this election season, listed in the order they were published: