Smyrna’s longest-serving mayor will not run for re-election in November.
Max Bacon, the Cobb County city’s top elected official since 1985, announced his decision Thursday at the annual State of the City address.
In May, Bacon said he’d seek re-election, but health concerns made him reconsider. Bacon, 70, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he had two heart attacks in 2016 and “that took a toll on me.”
Bacon said his decision to seek another four-year term began to weigh on him because he would not be able to give 110 percent.
“It’s just time for me to move on,” he said. “You can’t be there forever.”
Smyrna City Clerk Terri Graham said three people — City Councilman Derek Norton, Steve Rasin and Alex Backry — have filed formal declarations of intent to run for the office of mayor. Bacon said he has not decided if he will make any endorsements in the race. However, he did say he will support whomever is elected by Smyrna voters.
During Bacon’s long run, Smyrna has transformed from a small bedroom community to a bustling Atlanta suburb in southern Cobb County. U.S. Census Bureau population estimates show Smyrna is the second largest city in Cobb, with 56,706 residents in 2018. In 1980, the city had about 20,000 residents.
Bacon served one term on the Smyrna City Council before he began his tenure as mayor. He became mayor in 1985 after his father, Arthur T. Bacon, died in office. The longtime mayor said he’s proud of what the city has accomplished, such as revitalizing downtown, acquiring and renovating Aunt Fanny’s Cabin to use as the city’s welcome center and restoring Brawner Hall as an event venue.
State Rep. Teri Anulewicz, a former Smyrna City Councilwoman, said Bacon leaves behind an “incredible legacy.” She pointed to some East Cobb residents, clamoring for cityhood, who say they want their community to operate like Smyrna.
“It’s really because of Max that Smyrna is really the gold standard for the kind of city and kind of community people want to live in,” she said.
City Attorney Scott Cochran, whose firm, Cochran & Edwards Law, served the city when Bacon’s father was mayor in the 1970s and 1980s, said he is glad to see Bacon leave on his own terms. Bacon will be remembered for his ability to do what he thought was right even though it may not have been a politically popular decision, he said.
“He really does care about the well-being of the city and the residents, and he has been the head of the city as it has really changed for the better over the years,” Cochran said.
Bacon retired from the United States Postal Service 13 years ago and said he will use his new free time to travel and be with family. What he won’t do, Bacon said, is be the “kind of (former) mayor who will be at City Council meetings scrutinizing what they are doing.”
Since this will be the first time he won’t have to be anywhere on the first and third Monday every month, Bacon said he’ll sit back and enjoy the slower pace.
“It’s been a pleasure to serve my hometown where I grew up,” he said.
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