Kingsland City Councilman Grayson Day defeated incumbent Mayor Kenneth Smith in the runoff election on Tuesday.
Day and Smith were the top two candidates from the November 6th municipal elections beating out Kingsland Councilman Jim McClain and former Kingsland City Councilman James Ham.
Day also fought off misapplied assertions made from other council candidates concerning Hatch Act campaign violations.
Day defeated Smith with 65.54 percent of the vote with a total of 2,272 ballots cast. Kenneth Smith has served as Kingsland’s Mayor since winning his mayoral election in the early 2000’s.
The results will be certified at the end of the week by Probate Judge Robert Sweatt.
Day was elected as a City Councilman in 2010 when he won a special election when Nancy Stasinis vacated her seat on Kingsland’s Council. Day will take the mayor’s seat once sworn into office in January 2019.
Many political obstacles face Kingsland and Camden County and those obstacles impacted the decision of the voters in Kingsland.
Public Service Authority and Financial Oversight –
One area that surfaced in the mayoral campaign was the fact the incumbent Mayor Smith was the longest serving member of the Public Service Authority Board (PSA). Day successfully linked Smith to the PSA Board’s lack of oversight and reminded the voters that for many years the PSA went without a financial audit since 2004.
Now, the PSA Board continues to struggle with the future funding schemes needed to prop up the Authority to maintain parks and other services. The criminal investigation of the former PSA director’s alleged embezzlement is still ongoing.
Grayson Day will now take Smith’s place on the PSA Board starting in January 2019.
Drainage and Flooding Response –
Other aspects of the mayoral race were the city’s response to flooding and drainage issues exposed by back-to-back tropical events from Matthew and Irma. The city’s response to the flooding victims and the lack of oversight over drainage projects pre-Matthew and pre-Irma were obstacles Smith could not overcome.
The obstacles to funding approvals, permitting, and the slowness from other government agencies was not in Smith’s control. However, citizens voiced concerns on how Kingsland could alleviate and correct drainage issues in the meantime but such efforts by Smith’s administration did not move quickly in the eyes of the Kingsland taxpayer.
Formal public response about officer-involved shooting –
A formal public response to the Kingsland community by Mayor Smith, as well as the Council, on the officer-involved shooting killing a Kingsland man, has still not occurred under Smith’s administration per the recommendation of Legal Counsel. Many citizens attended city council meetings and protested outside to City Hall demanding personnel policy changes and a formal response from Mayor Smith and Council.
Response from Kingsland Mayor-Elect, Grayson Day – Day sent the following message via email to AOG-Camden:
The people of Kingsland have spoken. We are so thankful and humbled by the outpouring of support throughout this endeavor. I would like to thank Mayor Smith for running a clean race. He has had an admirable career of service to the public and his time has left an indelible mark on the landscape of Kingsland. I congratulate him on a strong mayoral race and hope to garner the support of his following as we seek to push Kingsland forward toward prosperity.
I would like to thank my wife and children and my entire family who have stood by me and made the campaign a family affair from day one. I owe my campaign team a huge debt of gratitude as they worked tirelessly to help ensure our success. Above all, I am thankful for the blessings of God and the knowledge that all success happens only by His will alone.
To the people of Kingsland- Thank you for your vote of confidence. I won’t let you down.
Mayor-Elect, City of Kingsland