Digging Deeper: The mayor's office through the years - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Digging Deeper: The mayor's office through the years

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Eight years ago when voters went to the polls and elected Willie Adams, they made history by electing a black mayor. 

"It was a significant event in Albany's history and I think a lot of things have happened during his term as Mayor, we've worked on sort of the downtown redevelopment," said Thronateeska Executive Director Tommy Gregors.

Albany's longest serving mayor, James H. Gray, helped change the role of a mayor from ceremonial to one of industry building. "In some ways it was controversial because a lot of buildings were torn down in downtown to make room from new buildings but on the other hand there was a lot of maintenance and repair and buildings were in bad shape," Gregors said. 

Dorothy Hubbard isn't the first woman to make a run for the mayor's seat. "I'm going to stay focused on the things the city needs," she said. Mary Young Cummings challenged Mayor Gray during his term in office.

"She was very involved during that time locally. But what goes into running for mayor, we went digging in the election office and found out not every can run. "You must be 21 years of age and you must live in the city for at least two years. The qualifying fee for running for mayor is $750," said Ginger Nickerson, Albany-Dougherty Elections Supervisor.

There's a short application process. You can claim pauper status and gather signatures instead. There's a history of keeping the job in the family, several Albany mayors share a last name.

Whether Albany will get its first female mayor has yet to be decided but one thing holds true. "The challenge for the future of course is keeping these companies here and keeping Albany progressive and open to new ideas and new ways of doing things," said Gregors.

 In digging for this story we also learned there's money in SPLOST VI for an expansion at Thronateeska. What they're working to do is to set up a better archive system for information like a mayoral history making it easy for the public to search.

Right now they're scanning in city and county documents and looking for interns to help. We found mayoral records dating back to 1857. In 1897 the city switched from electing a mayor every year to every two years and in 1998, the city went to the four year term that's used today.

(You can find a complete list of all those Mayors by clicking the link above, right.)

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