If bill passes, three may run for board seat

By Trina Trice

Whether or not Clayton County residents will be able to vote for the District 8 seat on the Board of Education will be decided by the Georgia Legislature this week.

If Senate Bill 374 passes the House after already passing the Senate, there are three individuals who might run for the vacant seat.

Darryl Mosh, Mary Mallory and Oscar Blalock were the final three candidates the board voted on for the District 8 seat at its April 14 meeting, despite opposition from board member Ericka Davis who asked the board to table the vote until the Georgia Assembly concluded its 2003 session.

"It's not too much to ask," Davis told board members.

Board member Barbara Wells agreed with Davis saying, "Give us more time to make a more well-informed decision."

Davis' first motion to table the vote failed, although her second motion passed.

Davis was able to make a second motion because the three candidates voted on did not receive the five majority votes needed to pass.

"I think it was a good decision," said State Rep. Victor Hill, D-

College Park, "Any time you leave a choice in the hands of the people you can never go wrong with that."

District 8 has a population of approximately 25,900 and contains parts of Conley, Forest Park, Lake City, and Morrow.

Board member Linda Crummy was the only one who voted for applicant Mary Mallory.

Mallory did not attend the April 14 meeting and could not be reached for comment Sunday.

Darryl Mosh received no votes, suggesting he has no ties with any school board member.

Mosh applied for the District 8 seat, as did Mallory and Blalock.

"I'm concerned about what's going on with our school system," Mosh said. "Most importantly, I'm concerned about students and staff.

Mosh said he has held positions as a psychotherapist, educator, minister, and performer.

If Senate Bill 374 passes Mosh said he plans to run for the seat in a special election.

"I'm not scared of the process," Mosh said. "The thing is we look at the school board as if it isn't important. But what goes on in the schools affects our community, our families."

Mosh wasn't deterred by the lack of votes he received from the board, and he supported the board's final decision to postpone the vote.

"This was the right decision at the right time," Mosh said.

School board members Carol Kellam and LaToya Walker, Board Chairwoman Nedra Ware, and Board Vice Chairwoman Connie Kitchens voted in favor of Blalock at the April 14 meeting.

Blalock is a familiar name to some in Clayton County.

He is a retired city of Atlanta administrator and is a past president of the Clayton County chapter of the NAACP.

Blalock has also served as a member of the Clayton County Community Services Authority and the Human Relations Council.

Blalock lost his 2002 campaign to win the District 1 seat on the county's Board of Commissioners in the September runoff against Commissioner Carl Rhodenizer.

When contacted Saturday Kitchens did not want to comment on why she voted for Blalock.

Kitchens opposed the board tabling the vote, as Senate Bill 374 would call for a special election that would be costly to the county, she said.

However, Clayton County Probate Judge Eugene Lawson said the cost would be negligible if held this September, as a special election is scheduled then. If a special election for the District 8 seat were held on its own, the cost could run between $12,000 and $15,000, Lawson said.

Kitchens said Saturday she would wait like other board members to see what the Legislature will decide.

"At this particular time, the majority of the board voted to table" voting for the District 8 seat, Kitchens said. "Once the legislators make their decision, we'll reconvene and figure out what the next step will be."