SNELLVILLE – Barbara Bender has been appointed the city’s mayor after the resignation of Tom Witts.
“As the new mayor,” she said. ”I would like to make a pledge to the city to represent the citizens of Snellville to the best of my abilities in a professional and respectful manner; to work with this council to keep them well-informed of anything going on with the city and with the staff; to listen with an open mind to all views; to engage in and require respectful debates on issues; and to help build consensus on issues important to the city.
“I think all of this is very important to us as we go ahead. I have no doubt that this council will help me fulfill that pledge. We really do have a great group of people up here.”
Her appointment was confirmed following a 3-1-1 vote, with Councilman Roger Marmol dissenting and Bender abstaining.
Councilman Dave Emanuel was named mayor pro tem.
Because Bender had to resign her council seat to take the mayor’s post, there will be a special election March 19 to fill that seat.
Qualifying for the Post 5 seat will take place Jan. 22-24 in City Hall.
Bender said the future of Snellville is bright.
“We are really, really close on having some agreements in place to actually get started on our Towne Center,” she said. “We still have a couple of pieces arranged so hopefully soon, we are going to have some good notices to be putting out to all of you.”
Bender, other councilmembers and members of the community who spoke at the meeting, praised Witts for his contributions to the city before he resigned.
“I would like to thank Mayor Tom Witts for his work and his efforts here in the city. He really did do a phenomenal job as councilmember and as mayor. Just a few of the things that he had either instigated or was one of the founding members … to getting things done at the city was the Snellville Veterans Memorial, the (Snellville) Farmers’ Market, (Snellville Tourism and Trade), the Community Garden (at Snellville) and the (Snellville) Spirit magazine … Keep Tom and Carol Witts both in your thoughts and prayers as he’s still undergoing chemo treatment for his colon cancer and his wife just had surgery for her bladder cancer on Friday.”
Bender, a CPA and owner of Barbara A. Bender, CPA, LLC in Lawrenceville, served on the city council for six years from 2005 - 2011 and was elected again November 2013. She is the Secretary/Treasurer of the Snellville Community Foundation, Inc. which is the organization responsible for the Snellville Veterans Memorial. She is the president of the Snellville Entrepreneur Council, Inc. which is a start-up, non-profit which offers free one-on-one mentoring to start-up or established business owners and monthly peer advisory boards. She is a member of STAT and is a frequent volunteer for its many events.