Mayoral candidates stress plans to move Alexander City past bumpy chapter

Published: Aug. 18, 2016 at 1:51 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 18, 2016 at 2:24 AM CDT
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Mayor Charles Shaw (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Mayor Charles Shaw (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Lt. Mark Fuller (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Lt. Mark Fuller (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Mark Lamborne (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Mark Lamborne (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Jim Nabors (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Jim Nabors (Source: WSFA 12 News)

ALEXANDER CITY, AL (WSFA) - Four candidates are vying for the job of mayor in Alexander City in a race that continues to garner lots of talk and attention during a contentious time in city government.

In the days leading up to the Aug. 23 municipal election, the candidates will be busy campaigning and meeting with voters to share their goals and plans for office.

Many say the outcome of the election could be a critical turning point for the city, which has been rocked by controversy, conflicts, and concern over the status of finances.

Mayor Charles Shaw (2012-2016) is running for re-election and faces two candidates from the last race, Mark Lamborne and Mark Fuller, and another local leader, Jim Nabors, who is running for elected office for the first time. They faced off in a forum last week, outlining how they want to move the city forward.

Shaw has been the owner of Shaw Refrigeration since 1977 and was a Tallapoosa County commissioner from 2002-2012.

He wants voters to know about the accomplishments the city has had under his leadership over the past four years and says that should overshadow any negative news.

"We just built a new soccer field. We'll be able to have soccer tournaments here. We bought 113 acres to have an industrial park. We brought Korens to town. It's a new company that will employ up to 400 people. We helped bring Aprinta to town (an apparel company) with plans for about 450 people there. In the next three years, we're bringing MTJ (a manufacturing company) from Jacksons Gap with about 55 people once they're at full capacity," he said.

He would like to continue that momentum if voters give him another term as mayor.

"I'd like to have four years with a good council that would work harmoniously with the mayor and I think we could accomplish a lot more," he added.

Mark Fuller is a lieutenant with the Alabama Department of Public Safety, overseeing troopers in 32 counties and working on Lake Martin in the Marine Patrol Division. He has 25 years of experience in law enforcement and served on the Alexander City police force from 1991-99.

He also serves with the United States Marine Corps Reserves and Alabama National Guard. He has experience in city government, having served on the Alexander City Council from 2008-2012.

"I ran last time. I just think we can go in a different direction. I'm tired of the negative publicity that the city has seen lately and I want to move it forward in a positive manner," he said. "As a former city councilman, I know the duties of the mayor. I think I'm qualified and capable of executing those duties. I want us to do better than what we've done in the past."

He's running on a platform of four principles: accountability, honesty, integrity, and transparency.

"We have to hold our city employees accountable, including the six positions that are appointed by the city council; the finance director being one of them. We need to complete an audit instead of stopping and starting over. Let's finish an audit and see where our funds are and then move forward from there," Fuller said.

Mark Lamborne is the owner of Bill's Electric (electrical contractors) and the current chairman of the Alexander City Zoning Commission. He is a MainStreet Alexander City board member and former chairman of the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce. He also is a member of the Alabama Electrical Contractors Board.

He is running for mayor a second time. He was in the runoff with Mayor Shaw in the last election and feels this time around, a change is needed.

"Alex City is in a pivotal time. Our election can change the way Alex City is operated. We need leadership and we need some strong leadership, ones that can make the tough decisions and get our city back on track," Lamborne said. "It takes a team and that's what we need to do is develop a good team to run our government."

He's stressed that the leadership must be working together and on the same page before they can make strides in any other areas.

"We must unify our city government back together. Without that, we cannot do anything. We must organize our city back, work together as a group and then we can start tackling the big ideas like finances and move on to diversification of our city and industrial development, parks, rec, just the general mode of the city," Lamborne added.

Jim Nabors is the current board chairman of the Russell Medical Center and had a 30-year career at Russell Corporation, working his way up to Chief Financial Officer and Board Director before retiring in 1998 and becoming the Alexander City School Superintendent from 1999-2003. He previously served as Board of Trustees Chairman of Judson College and was a previous member of the University of Alabama's president's cabinet.

Nabors says his experience in business and education makes him uniquely qualified for the position of mayor. He does not plan to take a salary if elected, saying he wants to be a true public servant.

"I think the needs of the city for the city government needs someone with the exact same qualifications that I have. I felt compelled to run and was encouraged by others to run," he said. "We have a financial issue relative to accounting and reporting on time of financial results. That's the background I have, so it was the request of friends to loan myself to the city. I have the experience necessary to do what the city needs to straighten out the financial problems that everyone is aware of."

All four men hope they get the chance to make the changes and improvements they each envision for Alexander City.

On Aug. 23, voters will also be deciding on which city council members they would like to see serve their districts.

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