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Mayor Kelly Girtz, New Commissioners Will Be Sworn in Today

Athens-Clarke County’s new Politburo Mayor and Commission will be sworn during a 5:30 p.m. ceremony today at City Hall.

After winning a three-way race in May, Commissioner Kelly Girtz will officially take over for Mayor Nancy Denson, who was limited to two terms. Look for a Q&A with Girtz in Wednesday’s edition of Flagpole.

Taking Girtz’s District 9 seat will be longtime school board member and community organizer Ovita Thornton. Other new commissioners include:

• Patrick Davenport, co-founder of a house-cleaning co-op, in District 1.

• Athens for Everyone co-founder and United Campus Workers of Georgia organizer Tim Denson in District 5.

• Downtown business owner Russell Edwards, who led the anti-Walmart fight in 2011 and 2012, in District 7.

Another progressive commissioner who was elected in May, Mariah Parker, took her seat in June because she ran in a special election triggered when Harry Sims resigned to run for mayor.

All six were swept into office by a progressive wave that saw two incumbents—Sharyn Dickerson in District 1 and Jared Bailey in District 5—swept out of office.  District 7 incumbent Diane Bell declined to run for re-election.

Prior to the swearing-in ceremony, the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement will host a meet-and-greet at Walker’s Coffee and Pub on College Square from 3–5 p.m., with Thornton and Girtz expected to attend.

Last week, three new Clarke County Board of Education members—psychologists Kara Dyckman and LaKeisha Gantt and Athens Tech instructor Tawana Mattox—took the oath of office. Dyckman replaces Sarah Ellis, who did not run for re-election, in District 5; Gantt defeated Carol Williams in District 7; and Mattox replaces Thornton in District 9.