The League of Women Voters of Carrollton-Carroll County will host the forum from 7 to 9 p.m. in the jury room of the new Carroll County Court House, 323 Newnan Street, Carrollton.
Incumbent Commission Chairman Bill Chappell is facing challenges from Carrollton businessmen, Walt Hollingsworth and Marty Smith.
Also appearing in the Thursday forum will be candidates for the Districts 3 and 5 commission seats.
District 3 candidates include incumbent Ashley Smith-Hendrix and Tommy Lee, both of Carrollton, and Jason Wilcox of Temple.
Candidates in the District 5 commission forum will include incumbent Kevin Jackson of Whitesburg and Slade Jenkins of Roopville.
The candidates for the Carroll County School Board, District 1 and 3, will participate in a League of Women Voters forum today from 7 to 9 p.m. in the courtroom/city council room of the Holt-Bishop Municipal Building, 101 Main Street, Villa Rica.
District 1 school board candidates include Bernice Bailey Brooks (incumbent), Robert Cleveland and Terry Wayne Turner, all of Villa Rica.
District 3 school board candidates include Christopher Gammon (incumbent) and Robert D. Pinckney, both of Villa Rica.
Chappell was elected in 2007 during a special election to fill the unexpired term of former chairman Robert Barr, who resigned amid political unrest over budget shortfalls and a dramatic increase in employee insurance premiums. Chappell was elected to a full four-year term in 2008.
Chappell drew public fire in 2009 after firing two popular county department heads in a cost-saving move. A recall petition was circulated but failed to gain enough signatures to force a recall election.
“I am proud of my record of accomplishment since Carroll County voters put me in office,” Chappel said in a Feb. 3 written announcement of his plans to seek re-election. “Some of that accomplishment is a return to financial health and stability in county government. The county was $5.4 million in debt when I was sworn in. We stopped spending like drunken sailors. We focused on holding employee numbers down. We eliminated some duplicate positions, and we changed some management to better achieve county goals.”
Challenger Hollingsworth is a Carrollton native and graduate of Carrollton High School. He graduated from Auburn University in 1981 and returned to Carrollton to work with the Junior Chamber of Commerce at the state level. More recently, he has been the general manager of his family’s business, Hollingsworth Concrete.
Hollinsworth ran against incumbent Carrollton Mayor Wayne Garner last November but lost by 16 votes.
Smith is making his first run for public office. He grew up in Carroll County and graduated from Carrollton High School in 1982. He attended University of West Georgia and graduated in 1987 with a business administration degree in management.
After college, he managed a local auto parts store and spent three years working with his brother in a Gaston, S.C., business. While in South Carolina, his family contracted with CSX Railroad for maintenance of gondola rail cars that served the eastern seaboard. He later returned to Carrollton and worked in his family’s grading and development business and later sold insurance for Carroll County Farm Bureau and J. Smith Lanier Insurance Co.
Since 2007, he has maintained a development company and has specialized in negotiating leases of small box retail centers.
According to Robin Collins, League president, the following procedure will be followed in the commission and school board forums:
“The moderator will open the forum. Candidates will give their opening remarks. The moderator will then ask the panelists to present their questions, one at a time, rotating between the panelists. Panelists will only ask questions directed to all candidates.
“After two rounds of panelist questions, the moderator will seek questions from the audience, with the questions being written on note cards. Audience questions may be directed to a particular candidate or all candidates. The assistant moderator will combine any audience questions that are similar. If time allows, the moderator will ask the panelists for another round of questions.
“The moderator will close the question portion, and each candidate will be given time to deliver closing remarks.”
Collins said the League reserves the right to adjust the format of the candidate forums when it is in the best interest of informing the voters, with advance notice given to the candidates.