GUYTON — Marshall Reiser and Hursula Pelote hope to provide a breath of fresh air that will help clear a cloud of divisiveness that frequently hovers over Guyton City Council meetings.
Reiser and Pelote emerged victorious in a Dec. 3 runoff election for the Post 1 and Post 2 seats, respectively. Reiser edged Tamela Mydell 233-224 and Pelote topped Andy Harville 234-226.
When they take their seats in January, Reiser and Pelote will have plenty to do, including help fill key vacancies at City Hall. City Clerk Alison Bruton and City Manager Daniel Hofman resigned recently.
In addition, the Guyton Police Department has only two officers and three attempts to name a permanent chief have failed since June.
“I want to see how we can reconstruct our personnel and I want that to run smooth,” Pelote said. “We are only as good as our employees are. I want our employees to be top notch.”
Reiser and Pelote will join Mayor-elect Russell Deen and incumbents Joseph Lee (Post 3) and Michael Johnson (Post 4) on the council. Lee and Johnson joined outgoing Post 2 Councilman Dr. Franklin Goldwire in opposing the hiring of Richard Zapal, a retired Savannah Police Department, as Guyton police chief.
Another lingering issue is the need for additional spray fields for Guyton’s wastewater treatment plant. Lee and Johnson have clashed repeatedly with current Post 1 Councilan Steve Collins over the issue and other plant matters.
“I think we need to work as a group and develop some decisions that are best for the overall city,” Reiser said.
Pelote echoed Reiser’s sentiments.
“There is a lot on our plate,” she said. “We have a lot to consider and we need to find a way to work together.”
Reiser has never worked closely with Lee and Johnson on any projects but hopes to establish an effective relationship with them.
“I have served with Mr. Deen on the Planning and Zoning Committee for several years so I do have some experience working with him,” Reiser said. “I don’t have any experience working with Ms. Pelote.”
Reiser and Pelote look forward to a fresh start for the city.
“It’s not about us,” Pelote said. “It’s about the citizens of Guyton.”