Former alderman Jeff Lariscy beat incumbent Guyton mayor Michael Garvin 185-125, ending Garvin’s 10-year tenure in the post.
“I think it was a lot of legwork that did it,” Lariscy said. “I visited a lot of homes over the last week, two weeks. I talked to a lot of folks and listened to a lot of folks. I think that was the key, too, and trying to get some common ground.”
Garvin held a 66-51 lead after absentee votes were counted. But those who went to the poll Tuesday voted 139-59 in favor of Lariscy.
Guyton’s two ballot questions appear to have passed by narrow margins. Voters approved the package sales of beer and wine on Sundays and also consented to the Sunday sales of alcohol by the drink.
The candidates for the two city council posts had no opposition. Franklin Goldwire, who had been appointed to the seat, won election and received 249 votes. Steve Collins, running for the seat being vacated by Jeff Lariscy’s wife Kelli, who also had been appointed to fill an unexpired but vacant term, received 215 votes.
Lariscy, who is the technology and media coordinator for the Effingham County School System, campaigned on a platform of change. He said many Guyton residents were disillusioned with the city’s administration. Lariscy said he wanted to provide greater transparency and “restore confidence in the ethical administration of business at city hall.”
Just prior to the election, Guyton relieved its longtime fire chief, David Starling, of his duties and also fired assistant chief Mike Crager.
As he made his way around the city to talk with potential visitors, Lariscy said “a good majority” of those he spoke with agreed with his vision.
“I am glad this is over with,” he said of the campaign. “I was speaking with a friend of mine the other day and he said, ‘you know, whether you win or lose, you really win because if you win, you win, and if you lose, you don’t have to worry about it anymore.’ But he didn’t know I was going to worry about it if I had to lose and was going to continue to work with folks in the city to make things better.”