Auld returning to council

LAWRENCEVILLE - Attorney Warren Auld will return to the Snellville City Council after gaining enough votes Tuesday to avoid a runoff in a crowded five-way race.

Auld, who resigned from the council last year to run unsuccessfully for state House, got 60 percent of the vote, while runner-up Teresa "Terri" Dippel, a schoolteacher, got 21 percent.

Some expected the contest to be forced into a runoff because of the crowded field.

"I'm pleased that the voters of the city have given me an opportunity to serve again," Auld said Tuesday night while eating ice cream and sandwiches with supporters at his law office. "It's a real honor, and I'm humbled by the number of votes and the turnout."

Auld attributed his victory to his network of volunteers, including homeowner associations that backed him.

He will complete the unexpired term of former Councilman Mike Smith, who resigned earlier this year on charges related to an Internet telemarketing scheme. About 31⁄2 years remain in the term.

After he returns to the council, Auld said he wants to review ways to make city government operate more efficiently, and he wants to make sure the Police Department is getting needed resources. Traffic and open communication between the city and homeowners is also on his agenda, Auld said.

Contacted at home, Dippell said, "I wish him well and I hope that he keeps his campaign promises." Dippell was publicly backed by Snellville Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer and Rep. Melvin Everson, who defeated Auld in his earlier bid for state House.

Rounding out the pack were real estate attorney Kelly Kautz with 14 percent of the vote; Gary Lapides with 2 percent; and real estate businessman Vince Buono with nearly 1 percent.