Avondale Estates Commissioner Terry Giager (right) decided at the last minute Friday to run for re-election after initially announcing he was stepping down. That’s City Manager Clai Brown on the left. Courtesy of Avondale Estates

Avondale Commissioner Giager to run for re-election after all

Eight have qualified to run for two seats on the Avondale Estates commission, with four waiting until the last few hours Friday to submit papers.

The biggest surprise was Terry Giager, who’s completing his eighth year on the board. Giager, who’s 70 and retired, announced back in April he was stepping down at the end of this year, in part to concentrate on his golf game. But he changed his mind around 2 p.m. Friday.

“I was contacted by a lot of residents who said that I was their voice,” Giager said. “The truth is it’s my civic duty and I honestly couldn’t refuse.”

Also qualifying are Joe Anziano, Paul Brown, Ben Dostal, Wilmer Engle, Candace Jones, Lionel Laratte, and Lisa Shortell.

Giager has been Mayor Pro Tem the last six years and after Ed Rieker’s resignation in October 2014, he was acting mayor for five months. Increasingly in the last two years he’s become the commission’s voice of dissent, a role that he says he doesn’t particularly relish.

“Without a doubt,” he said, “we’re spending too much money, and if we keep going that way it will put us in a financial deficiency.”

Among others, Giager opposed building the Art Lot on North Avondale Road, voted against a tax increase the last two years and opposes the proposed rain garden north of Lake Avondale.

Last fall he was particularly vocal against commissioners receiving compensation. Beginning next January, however, commissioners will receive $400 monthly and the mayor $600 monthly, possibly becoming the last all-volunteer city commission in Georgia.

“If I win, I will have to take the salary,” Giager said. “That doesn’t mean I’ll take it for personal use. I’m still deciding what to do about that.”

The election is Nov. 7.

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