Hiawassee Mayoral Candidates Appeal to the Voters before Tuesday’s Election

News, Politics

HIAWASSEE, GA – Fetch Your News contacted the Mayoral candidates in the City of Hiawassee race and offered a final opportunity to appeal to the voters before Election Day arrives on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017.

Neither candidate was permitted to review their opponent’s response prior to publication.

 

Candidate Liz Ordiales responded as follows:

My platform for this campaign has remained unchanged.  As my card states: Better financial management, create infrastructure to support controlled growth and continue my efforts to make Hiawassee a better place to live.  There are still many efficiencies that can be implemented in every department to create financial savings.

Correcting our existing infrastructure is critical to Hiawassee.  Sewer and water system upgrades are essential to allow residential as well as commercial growth.  We are in the process of upgrading our sewer plant and will look to expand the water plant in the future.

Citizen safety is also a top priority.  Ensuring that fire hydrants are maintained, flushed and tested are critical for public safety.  We have developed Standard Operating Procedures that will be followed. Our police department will continue to attend training sessions and ensure they have the equipment needed to perform their jobs.  I will continue to enhance our sidewalks, streets, lighting, etc. in order to allow for more walk-ability in our city.

Attracting and providing more events in our town is also critical to keep our businesses vibrant and engaged. I would continue to support events on the square as we have done with Moonshine Cruiz-in block party, Light up Hiawassee for Christmas, pickleball events during larger tournaments, etc.

Liz Ordiales

I am NOT an advocate for higher taxes. I have never voted to raise taxes in my two years with the City as a City Council member and interim Mayor.  I believe with financial efficiencies and controlled economic development we will be able to maintain low taxes.

In closing, I will put Hiawassee first as a FULL TIME Mayor without the expense of a City Administrator or City Manager.

Thanks –

Liz Ordiales

 

Candidate Barry Keith Dearing responded as follows:

If elected as Mayor of Hiawassee, my number one priority is to rescind the Franchise Fee Tax. This tax was proposed incorrectly and was presented to the public incorrectly. My opponent has stated on record that this fee will only cost the city residents approximately $20,000 which is incorrect. This will cost the city residents and businesses in the City, including the churches and hospital over $124,000 a year.

At the last city workshop, there was discussion of doing away with the current retirement plan and going with a “cheaper” plan for the city and less retirement for the employees. I disagree with the proposed plan that my opponent requested the GMA to propose. I will stand up for our city employees and fight for what’s right and what is in their best interest. I will not take away their retirement that they deserve.

I will work hand in hand with our current businesses to make sure they have the resources they need to grow and stay within our city. I will also encourage and work with new businesses that want to open in our City.

I will work to get the grants needed to repair failing infrastructure and make sure that all of our infrastructure is prepared for our growth that will come.

As Mayor, I will complete the Mayor’s Park so it is beneficial for our tourism and for our local citizens.

I will work with Chamber of Commerce directly to promote tourism for our city. I will make our square an eventful place for more activities and walk-ability. I will work hard to capitalize on growth utilizing our natural resources and beautiful mountains and Lake Chatuge.

Remember, I have children in this community that work, go to school and plan on raising families here just as we are doing. As Mayor, I would like to see more youth activities that encourage our young adults to be more involved and have a part in our City activities and our City government. After all, they are our future.

I will work closely with our City Police Department and make sure they have what is needed to protect themselves, our citizens and families in the city.

For the record, I have never mentioned doing away with the City of Hiawassee Police Department. Also, I have heard this multiple times and to clarify, I have not ever mentioned hiring a City Manager.

I will be transparent and will make sure the citizens of our community know exactly what the city is doing at all times. I will work closely with our county to make a strong relationship.

As I mentioned in the Candidate forum, I understand that the Mayor of Hiawassee is a full-time position. I stated “it is more than a 40 hour week job and I am committed to the task at hand.”

Barry Dearing

Barry Keith Dearing

Thank you to all the citizens and business owners within the entire community that have shown such great support and positive energy during this campaign. Please encourage your neighbor, family and friends within the city to VOTE on Tuesday, Nov. 7, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Board of Elections.

God Bless you all,

Barry Keith Dearing, Mayoral Candidate

 

 

Fetch Your News has followed the 2017 Hiawassee City Council race since its inception. Additional articles can be found on our site. Count on Fetch Your News to provide the election results on the evening of Nov. 7.

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. – For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

 

 

Councilman Jay Chastain Jr. Endorses Barry Keith Dearing in Hiawassee Election

News, Politics
Jay Chastain Jr

HIAWASSEE, GA – Hiawassee Councilman Jay Chastain, Jr. has publicly stepped forth to announce his endorsement of Hiawassee Mayoral candidate Barry Keith Dearing less than two weeks prior to election day.

The 12-year incumbent tells Fetch Your News that Mr. Dearing has his full support.

“I’ve known Barry for ages. He’s a fine man. There’s no doubt he entered the race because he wants what’s best for the City’s future,” the Councilman says.

Councilman Chastain, a lifelong resident and Paramedic of 31-years, met with candidate Dearing on the morning of Thursday, October 26, at McConnell Baptist Church during a newly initiated prayer breakfast to offer his blessing.

Barry Keith Dearing, a fourth generation local and the longtime CEO of VanKeith Insurance, says he appreciates Jay Chastain Jr.’s approval.

“He’s a good man and he’s committed to not only the Council, but to the community as a First Responder. I’m honored,” Dearing confided.

When pressed, both conservative candidates affirmed it’s neither the mayoral opposition’s lifestyle nor the fact she isn’t a “local” – the admitted concern Liz Ordiales raised at the Council forum – but the core issues that matter.

Of concern is the controversial imposition of the newly adopted BRMEMC Franchise Tax, confirmed to adversely affect the future budgets of Hiawassee citizens.

The recently passed planning-expansion ordinance, opposed by Councilman Chastain during a Special Called Meeting shortly after Pro-Tem Liz Ordiales announced her candidacy, is also an issue of debate.

Questionable decisions the former council member made while serving as President of the Towns County Fire Corps, including allegations of the alteration of Meeting minutes and the mismanagement of funds, and an initial attempt to reject the now-popular Mayors’ Park, have also put Ordiales in the hot seat.

Chastain’s decision to outwardly support mayoral candidate Dearing emerged unexpectedly during a community prayer meeting hosted at McConnell Church. The breakfast, sponsored in partnership with the Towns County Sheriff’s Office, is an initiative of Sheriff Chris Clinton to unite residents with local law enforcement and first responders.

Councilman Jay Chastain, Jr., the son of a slain Towns County Sheriff whose life ended while serving the community in 1974, expressed his heartfelt approval of Barry Dearing as Hiawassee’s next Mayor.

“I want to see Hiawassee thrive economically and I believe it will. I want the residents to know where I stand, local or move-in. It’s beside them,” Chastain parted before rushing off to arrive on-time for his role as a veteran Medic.

Fetch Your News has followed the 2017 Hiawassee City Council race since its inception.

Follow Fetch Your News for additional coverage of the November 7 election.

*UPDATE* Feature Image has been replaced.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. – For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

 

Tax or Fee? Conflict between Mayoral Candidates Heats Up

News, Politics
Hiawassee election

Hiawassee, GA – The race for Hiawassee’s next mayor took a turn toward “politics-as-usual” on Saturday, October 7, the result of a clash in mindset between the two candidates seeking the City’s highest post, Liz Ordiales and Barry Keith Dearing.

Liz Ordiales at the Candidate Forum on October 2.

Liz Ordiales responded to Barry Dearing’s published allegation of covert higher taxation on her social media page, expressing disappointment in her opponent.

Candidate Ordiales wrote, “The article [Dearing] ran in this week’s paper is all lies. If you can’t win on your own merit, don’t play the game.”

The conflict stems from a decision made during Special Called Council Meetings held on August 8 and August 11, concerning the adoption of the Franchise Tax.

Fetch Your News contacted the Mayoral candidates on Sunday, October 8, seeking comments regarding their division.

Candidate Ordiales refers to the passed ordinance as a fee, while Candidate Dearing insists it is a tax.

Ms. Ordiales responded, “As I explained at my first Meet and Greet on September 18, the Candidate Forum on October 2, and at the Mover & Shakers meeting this past Friday, this is not a tax on the citizens of Hiawassee. This is a fee that 524 out of 535 cities in Georgia collect from their utility company. The fee is for EMC to use City property to provide their services to our citizens.”

“The rate assigned was 4% which is the lowest possible, so on an electric bill of $100, that would be $4.00 that the EMC should be paying the City. Windstream has been paying this franchise fee for years and we must get ready for new companies entering our area to provide services,” Ordiales said.

Ms. Ordiales stressed the tax does not apply to Hiawassee citizens, adding, “If Mr. Dearing would have attended meetings prior to his announcement to run for Mayor, he would have been educated on this topic. This was discussed at two council meetings, had two readings – as it is an ordinance – and was approved by the entire council.”

Barry Keith Dearing at the Candidate Forum on October 2.

Ordiales went onto say Dearing’s accusation of support for higher taxation is untrue,  “I have had two opportunities to vote for higher tax increases and have not done so.”

Barry Keith Dearing views the Franchise Tax in a different light, claiming former Mayor Pro-Tem “passed the largest tax increase in the City’s history without public hearing or comment. The Franchise tax is directed against all City businesses and residents, and will appear on [their] power bill in the near future.”

If elected, Barry Keith Dearing intends to repeal what he considers a tax, vowing there will be no future increases.

Fetch Your News was unaware of the Special Called Meetings, a violation of State law, in which the motion in question was discussed and adopted.

Fetch Your News is awaiting a response from Blue Ridge Mountain EMC as to whether the ordinance will be passed along to customers in the form of higher bills.

Updated information is available.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. – For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

Barry Keith Dearing Announces Candidacy for Hiawasee Mayor

Politics
Barry Dearing

Hiawassee, GA – Barry Keith Dearing, a local business owner, has announced his candidacy for Mayor of the City of Hiawassee.

Image: Courtesy of Barry Keith Dearing

As the Founder and CEO of VanKeith Insurance Agency, Dearing tells Fetch Your News he intends to put his skills, perspective, years of self-employment experience, and community activism to use by unifying citizens toward a common goal.

“I’m not a career politician, but I am deeply rooted in the community and consider myself very fortunate to live and work here. This is where I grew up and where I’ve chosen to raise my children. Hiawassee is my home,” Mr. Dearing expressed.

“The mayor should be a vital and active communication link between the people and the city. In my role as a long-time business owner, I’m constantly in touch with citizens and local business owners. I understand their needs and desires. If elected I will take advantage of my experience, skills, and perspectives.”

Mr. Dearing describes his principles as simple.

Barry Keith Dearing Mayor

Image: Courtesy of Barry Keith Dearing

“Faith. Family. Integrity. Honesty. Transparency.”

The mayoral candidate states his plans include collaboration with the the entire community to ensure it’s the best it can be.

“It isn’t necessary to be a resident of Hiawassee to feel the impact. It’s important for both the residents and the business owners to be heard.”

Barry Keith Dearing pledges to bring his community and business experience to the City of Hiawassee along with sound judgement and know-how.

Mr. Dearing says he looks forward to a positive campaign, meeting with citizens, and tackling challenges.

“We have what it takes to make this a thriving, economically viable, and sustainable city for our families, students, seasonal residents, and tourists.”

“It’s time.”

Updated information on the 2017 race is available.

 

Councilman Motions to Repeal Franchise Ordinance on Election Night

News, Politics
Hiawassee City Council

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee City Council held their Regular Session shortly before the 2017 election polls closed on the evening of Nov. 7. A first reading to rescind the Franchise Ordinance, confirmed by Blue Ridge Mountain EMC to result in an additional line item on the future bills of Hiawassee citizens and businesses, was added to the agenda by Councilman Jay Chastain Jr.

The motion to repeal the controversial mandate was seconded by Councilwoman Rayette Ross.

Councilman Kris Berrong opposed the motion and declined a request for comment.

The motion passed 2-to-1.

Mayor Pro-Tem Ann Mitchell said in hindsight that she wishes the Council would have had more time to consider it.

The ordinance was adopted during Special Called Meetings held Aug. 8 to 11, 2017, less than a week after former Pro-Tem Liz Ordiales stepped down to run for Mayor.

“I’m really sorry this has become a community football,” Mayor Pro-Tem Mitchell told the community-packed room, “but it is a source of revenue that almost everyone in the state takes advantage of.” Mitchell suggested a public meeting to discuss the issue further, stating a second reading date is undetermined.

The crowd migrated to the Board of Elections building, located adjacent to City Hall, after the Council meeting adjourned to await the highly anticipated election results..

Liz Ordiales won the Mayoral post with a 70 percent lead over her opponent, Barry Keith Dearing. Ordiales’s crowd of supporters were overjoyed with the results, offering hugs of congratulations to Hiawassee’s newly elected Mayor.

Incumbent Councilman Jay Chastain Jr. lost his seat to Patsy Owens who garnered 62 percent of the votes.

“It is obvious the voters of the city of Hiawassee wanted a change,” Chastain said. “I wish the newly elected Council members the best. I want to thank the citizens for their 12 years of support.”

Nancy Noblet was elected to Post 5, securing her seat with a 55 percent lead over Anne Wedgewood.

Amy Barrett, the sole unopposed candidate in the race, will replace Post 1 Councilwoman Rayette Ross who chose to not seek re-election.

Liz Ordiales responded to FYN’s request for comment on her victory:

“Thank you for your support throughout this campaign,” Ordiales wrote. “It is a privilege and an honor to be a representative of our great city. I will not let you down and will always put Hiawassee first! Let’s get to work!”

Hiawassee City Council will be sworn into office on January 1, 2018.

Hiawassee Mayoral Candidate, Liz Ordiales, Rebukes Allegations

News, Politics
Liz Ordiales

HIAWASSEE, GA – In a fiery email sent to Fetch Your News (FYN), Hiawassee Mayoral candidate Liz Ordiales repudiated allegations published October 27, 2017, by the said news outlet which cited several different concerns from fellow candidates, alongside the endorsement of her Mayoral opponent, Barry Keith Dearing, by Incumbent Councilman Jay Chastain Jr.

‘”I have never, I repeat NEVER been accused of any wrong-doing during my presidency at the Towns County Fire Corps. This article I believe has been altered since it originally appeared. It originally stated I was the Vice-President, which is a position I have never held. These accusations are unacceptable lies and are a direct attack on my character,” Ordiales wrote. The Mayoral candidate went on to claim libel and defamation of character.

Fetch Your News caught the error referencing Ordiales as Vice-President, rather than the former President of the Towns County Fire Corps, soon after publishing and accepts responsibility for the slight inaccuracy. The mistake was promptly corrected once discovered.

Cindi Daves, a proponent of Ms. Ordiales, began in an email to FYN, “What happened to the day and age when news reporters were required to vet their stories BEFORE they print them?”

Two additional supporters responded in a similar fashion, adamantly defending Ordiales.

In an email entitled “Retract the Jr. Chastain Allegation,” Liz Ruf wrote, “Mr. Chastain is totally out of line, has no evidence and is attempting to negatively sway this election at the last minute and found easy prey through your news service. You should make this right immediately.”

LaJean Turner wrote in part, “Homework was obviously not done on this article before publication.”

Homework was, in fact, conducted. Fetch Your News does not allude to accusations without extensive research and substantial discovery.

In a 2013 letter written by former Vice President of the Towns County Fire Corps, Ken Bryant, the following allegations were cited as reasons Mr. Bryant chose to vacate his position under President Ordiales’s leadership:

  • No or Improper Board voting – for example, failing to hold a formal vote on the resignation of Dewaine Olson (Secretary/Treasurer);
  • Failure to appoint a financial controller or Treasurer with sufficient accounting background in a reasonable amount of time;
  • Board meeting minutes were inaccurate, incomplete, altered and manipulated to change the record not reflective of the truth;
  • Board member expenditures were approved arbitrarily and with no impartiality, in accordance with no clear and consistent policy.   In one case, retroactive policies were applied to a selected case and expenditures over prior authorization were not enforced in another;
  • Negative comments were made about the dual control board member signature required on fund raising account checks, which is as a matter of best practice with entrusted funds;
  • I was asked by President Ordiales to pre-sign several blank fund raising account checks;
  • No vendor selection process for several significant external relationships and/or expenditures;
  • Lack of planning – for example, a membership drive was planned on a date with a significant community conflict with another public service organization;
  • Requests for significant budget expenditures (more than 25% of total budget) for non-existent needs and for non-existent members;
  • Unilateral decision making – a decision to drop the annual calendar as a fundraising tool without board discussion or a vote (eventually over ruled by Chief Floyd);
  • Mismanagement of the historical web domain address that caused the loss of ownership and resulted in several months without a web presence;
  • Mismanagement of the previous website that resulted in the impounding and loss of use of the archived history of the Fire Department including events, activities, photos, member accomplishments, etc.;

Former Vice President Bryant also referred to “a comment, reflective of attitude, by President Ordiales on the record in a meeting stating, ‘I know we are here to help the Fire Department, but we have to take care of ourselves first.’”

The general media, as well as local officials, are listed as recipients on the resignation. A decision was made to publish the allegations in full based on the elected position the candidate hopes to fill.

Fetch Your News sent a copy of the 2013 letter to candidate Ordiales for review and provided an opportunity to respond in full.

“I would like to address the accusations made in the article published 10-27-17.  Those allegations were made by a disgruntled Towns County Fire Corps officer in 2013, who clearly demonstrated that he had joined this group for financial gain. That became evident upon his refusal to release the www.townscountyfirecorps.org website, which he is still in control of after 5 years. This prompted the Towns County Fire Corps to create a new website www.tcfirecorps.org When his invoice for website management was declined, he resigned from this position and wrote the letter of accusations,” Liz Ordiales stated.

“I suggest that interviews be conducted with Fire Department personnel to further identify the facts on this situation.  During my time with the Fire Corps, we have generated well over $250,000 of which 100% of those funds were spent at the discretion of the Town County Fire Chief.”

Fetch Your News contacted Towns County Fire Chief Harold Copeland on the evening of October 30, 2017, requesting a response. “Liz has done a great job raising funds for us. We truly appreciated it,” the Fire Chief said in a phone conversation, “but I’m unwilling to endorse anyone. I’m here to serve the municipalities, to protect from a life-and-property standpoint. I’m happy to serve everyone. I wish both candidates the best of luck.”

*UPDATED* Former Vice President of the Towns County Fire Corps, Ken Bryant, responded to FYN’s request for comment. Mr. Bryant stands by his decision to resign due the reasons listed in his letter addressed to board members, local officials, and the media. Mr. Bryant, a former federal agent and current fraud investigator, has submitted numerous additional documents related to his claims.

Mr. Bryant has since written a Letter to the Editor.

Follow Fetch Your News for additional coverage of the 2017 Hiawassee City Council election.

Election Day is November 7.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. – For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

 

Follow Fetch Your News for additional coverage of the 2017 Hiawassee City Council election. Election Day is November 7.

 

Candidates Clash as BRMEMC Rejects City of Hiawassee Tax

News, Politics
Hiawassee election

Hiawassee, GA – In a letter addressed to Hiawassee City Council, Blue Ridge Mountain EMC reached a decision to reject the 4% Franchise Tax adopted by the City of Hiawassee during Special Called Council Meetings held between August 8-11, 2017.

BRMEMC General Manager Jeremy Nelms confirmed the assessment would be included as an additional line item on the future bills of customers had the ordinance been accepted, “paid solely by BRMEMC members residing within the City of Hiawassee.”

Mayor Candidate Barry Keith Dearing brought the recently passed ordinance to the public’s attention at the Hiawassee Council Forum on October 2, 2017, simply saying the ordinance was “an unclear thing that needs to be told.”

Former Hiawasee Mayor Pro-Tem candidate, Liz Ordiales, refuted Dearing’s claim, stating the ordinance was not a tax, defining it as a “fee” imposed on BRMEMC.

Ordiales accused Dearing of running a dishonest campaign in a social media rant on the morning of October 7, writing his allegation of taxation were “all lies,” adding if Dearing couldn’t win on his own merit, he shouldn’t “play the game.”

Mayor Candidate Ordiales responded to FYN’s request for additional comment the following day, “This is NOT a tax on the citizens of Hiawassee.  This is a fee that 524 out of 535 cities in Georgia collect from their utility company.  The fee is for the EMC to use City property to provide their services to our citizens,” Ordiales emphasized in an email.

The BRMEMC rejection, addressed to Councilman Kris Berrong on October 4, went on to explain the denial is due in part to the City’s desire to collect back “tax fees” from the start of the 2017 calendar year, 8-months prior the adoption of the Franchise Tax ordinance. BRMEMC also stated the fee amounts to double taxation as the facilities used to provide fiber and cable services to consumers are the same which supply electricity.

Mayor Candidate Dearing stated this evening, “Keep in mind, this was not BRMEMC’s idea. [The people] deserve to see the truth,” attached to a copy image of the letter issued by BRMEMC.

Despite a direct media request by Fetch Your News (FYN) to receive notification of Special Called and Emergency Meetings, FYN was unaware of the August 8-11 Franchise Tax motion and its subsequent approval. Government agencies are required by Georgia’s Open Meeting Act to provide advance notice to the public, as well as all requesting news outlets, specifically if their frequency of publication is above that of the legal organ.

Early voting for Hiawassee City Council begins next Monday, October 16.

The election will take place on Tuesday, November 7.

Updated information on the controversial ordinance is available.

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. – For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

 

 

Hiawassee City Council Campaign Ethics Raised

News, Politics
Liz Ordiales

HIAWASSEE, GA – In a live interview conducted by Fetch Your News (FYN) CEO Brian Pritchard with Hiawassee Mayoral candidate Liz Ordiales on the morning of Nov. 3, 2017, Mr. Pritchard questioned Ms. Ordiales’s decision to place her campaign sign on a Towns County Fire and Rescue truck during the City’s annual Halloween on the Square festivities on Oct. 31.

“Why did you put your campaign banner on the side of that firetruck? That is a violation of State,” Pritchard asked as the interview concluded. “Why did you do that?”

The campaign sign was placed on the rear of Engine 1 after being removed from the side

Candidate Ordiales responded she did not realize it was an ethics violation, stating she is connected to the Fire Corps and has raised $250,000 for the nonprofit organization, while making mention of Councilman Jay Chastain Jr.’s photographed endorsement of Liz Ordiales’s opponent, Barry Keith Dearing, while wearing an EMS uniform.

Towns County Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw, who tended to a booth for trick-or-treaters at the popular Halloween event, promptly asked Candidate Ordiales to remove the sign after it was brought to his attention.

“Towns County does not endorse candidates,” Commissioner Bradshaw said. “I’ve made that clear to the heads of all departments.”

Fetch Your News headquarters received a photo complaint of the campaign banner from an attendee soon after it was affixed to the firetruck.

“The minute I was called and told there might be a problem, did I take it down? Immediately it was taken down,” Ms. Ordiales said in the interview.

Candidate Ordiales removed the banner from the side of Engine 1, placing it on the bumper of the county emergency vehicle, out of the Commissioner’s line of sight, for a short period of time before being asked to place it in her vehicle by current Towns County Fire Corps President Colleen Gibson.

FYN CEO Brian Pritchard also questioned Candidate Ordiales’ usage of the City Of Hiawassee logo on campaign correspondence. Ordiales replied it is legal, that the City logo is not trademarked.

Incumbent Councilman Chastain has since responded to Candidate Ordiales comments on the endorsement photograph published by Fetch Your News.

Prayer Breakfast“I didn’t think anything about it,” Councilman Chastain said. “I was invited to the Sheriff’s prayer breakfast, as were all first responders, and I stopped by before heading to work in North Carolina. Barry was there, [FYN’s reporter] was there, and the picture was snapped. I personally supported Barry before the endorsement was publicized.”

Councilman Chastain did not address the group during his visit nor was his endorsement announced at the event.

The image in question has since been replaced on the original article by request from the Councilman.

Concerns related to Councilman Chastain’s uniform were not brought to FYN’s attention prior to community complaints of campaign ethic violations committed by Candidate Ordiales.

Ms. Ordiales was asked to remove a line of campaign signs from sidewalk flower pots located in front of The Mall on Main Thursday, Oct. 2, via a business owner who wishes to remain anonymous in the event Ordiales is elected.

An article related to the Halloween campaign controversy was recently published by FYN prior to the journalist’s decision to retract it in order to allow the list of allegations raised by former Towns County Fire Corps Vice President Ken Bryant while Liz Ordiales served as the nonprofit’s president to stand alone.

Mr. Bryant, a former federal agent and current fraud investigator, was offered an opportunity by FYN CEO Brian Pritchard to submit a rebuttal for publication as an opinion piece. Reference to the allegations are addressed in the FYNTV.com interview with Ms. Ordiales.

Continue to follow Fetch Your News for additional coverage of the Hiawassee City Council election.

Election Day is Nov. 7, 2017.

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. – For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

 

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