By Rebecca Gaunt
Lynette Burnette officially joined the Kennesaw City Council Monday.
Chief Municipal Court Judge Luke Mayes IV administered the oath of office to Burnette, who won the seven-way race with 1,755 votes.
During council member comments, she said, “I look forward to getting to know each of you more, and I especially look forward to working with the people of Kennesaw.”
The swearing in ceremony was delayed by two weeks thanks to an error uploading one of the memory cards with 789 votes from precinct 3A. The Cobb Board of Elections certified Madelyn Orochena as the winner before the mistake was discovered and Burnette was certified the winner.
At Orochena’s request, officials conducted a recount in which Burnette remained the top vote-getter, but the gap between the two narrowed by two votes from 31 to 29 votes. Orochena received 1,726 votes on the final count.
Orochena was on hand Monday to congratulate Burnette in person.
In a statement after the recount was complete, Orochena said, “In every election, regardless of outcome, the sanctity of the vote must be protected. After every vote was counted, we failed to receive the most votes. Of course I am disappointed in this outcome, but in the spirit of Thanksgiving I have much to be grateful for as well. Congratulations to Ms. Lynette Burnette.”
James “Doc” Eaton resigned in June, triggering the special election for the Post 1 seat.
More coverage of the troubled Post 1 election is available here.
Staff bonuses and city contracts
Council unanimously approved staff bonuses using federal COVID-relief funds.
The American Rescue Plan Act authorizes retention incentives for employees who were deemed essential workers during the pandemic.
The one-time payments range from $500–$3,000 depending on hire date and full-time or part-time status. All active employees as of Dec. 9 are eligible.
Council approved a contract with CivicClerk to create a centralized location for public meetings and materials, and streamline the process of creating, distributing, and managing agendas. The cost is $15,061, with an annual renewal fee of $11,193. Funds for the program were approved in the 2022–2023 budget.
“We have utilized our current solution for almost 20 years, and it’s just barely meeting our needs at this point,” said City Clerk Lea Alvarez.
Council also approved a contract with T&T Commercial Services to replace the Southern Museum’s mezzanine-level HVAC for $49,798. The funds come from the American Rescue Plan.
Rebecca Gaunt earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Oglethorpe University. After teaching elementary school for several years, she returned to writing. She lives in Marietta with her husband, son, two cats, and a dog. In her spare time, she loves to read, binge Netflix and travel.