by: Tom Jones Updated:CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. —
The newly-elected chairman of the Clayton County Commission said previous battles with the newly-elected sheriff are a thing of the past, and he's ready to move the county forward.
Former Police Chief Jeff Turner soundly defeated former chairman Edlrin Bell in Tuesday's run-off, joining the trend of incumbent losses. Shana Rooks defeated incumbent Clayton County commissioner Wole Ralph, and Sheriff Kem Kimbrough was ousted by his predecessor Victor Hill.
One long time county resident said he's happy with the shake-up on the commission board.
"I've been in the county 30 years. Today, I was glad to wake up and say, ‘Hallelujah,’" James Fambrough said.
Fambrough said the board should have never gotten rid of Turner as police chief in 2009, and he said now voters are making them pay. Fambrough was at that meeting where the board removed Turner and he expressed his dissatisfaction.
"That was me that was standing there at the microphone saying, ‘This is what you get when you vote for people because of what color they are,’" he said.
Turner, the new chairman called it a new day. He said with Rooks also joining the commission, he thinks the board will now vote in the community's best interest and not for personal interest.
"There was a three-block vote that hampered being able to get the will of the people done," he said.
But when Turner was police chief, he and then-Sheriff Hill had major battles. Turner said though both of them are returning to office, things will be different this time.
"He and I have spoken. We're going to be able to sit down. We're going to be able to work and do what this county needs us to do," he said.
Turner said he wants to focus on uniting the board, bringing in new business and doing the will of the people. He also wants to improve the image of the county so he hopes any bickering is done behind closed doors.