Pitts To Challenge Eaves For Fulton Chairman

Mar 3, 2014

Credit Fulton County Board of Commissioners

Monday marked the first day of qualifying for candidates planning to run in this year’s state and local elections, with one of Fulton County’s commissioners submitting his papers to challenge current Chairman John Eaves for the board’s top spot.

Commissioner Robb Pitts Monday said he paid his fees to run for chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, and submitted his intent to run statement for the top post early last month.

Pitts said the county has lost its stature regionally and statewide in recent years, something he wants to change.

“I think that Fulton County needs to regain its place of prominence in those areas, and I think I have the skill to do so,” Pitts said.

Pitts said his record as an Atlanta City Council member will produce a better partnership with Fulton’s major city and strengthen the county’s role in the region. He said his run for chair has been in the works for years – since before Eaves took over in 2006 – but was tabled due to family matters.

Eaves, however, said he believes Pitts is violating some ethics laws in his bid. He claims Pitts has been raising campaign dollars under the District 2 spot and applying the money to his run for chairman.

“State laws – ethics laws – prevent a particular candidate from using dollars collected for one office and applying it for another office, and he has been collecting money as the District 2 commissioner.  That is, in my opinion, a clear violation of ethics,” Eaves said.

Pitts’ District 2 spot was eliminated during 2010’s redistricting. The new map went into effect this election year, with six district commissioners. The seventh spot is the new at-large post. 

Eaves also said Pitts hasn’t filed the proper paperwork to run for board chair, and therefore cannot legally raise and spend campaign dollars.

Pitts’ staff denies he’s incorrectly using campaign funds, and that he has filed the proper paper work with the county along the new district lines.

Eaves said either way, he’s still confident he’ll maintain his current position as the board’s chief.

“I have been chairman now for seven, going on eight years. I ran for the position eight years ago and was successful twice in two election cycles. And I have been raising dollars as chairman of Fulton County in seeking re-election,” Eaves said.

At the end of last year, Pitts had just over $225,000 in contributions on hand, according to the state campaign finance commission.  Eaves had just over $28,000 – a little over one tenth of Pitt’s war chest.