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End of an era
Johnson defeats Webb in Norcross runoff

NORCROSS - Norcross will have a new leader.

Bucky Johnson was elected mayor Tuesday, defeating in a runoff Lillian Webb, the woman who has served two decades at the city's helm.

"Miss Lillian has done a ton of stuff for our city and we love her," said Marilyn Meacham, a Johnson supporter who applauded Webb and wiped away tears when the city's legendary leader conceded the race at City Hall. "This is the beginning of great things, but she's been a great person in our community."

Johnson, a political novice who moved to the city about four years ago, said he believed voters were looking for a leader to continue the change to a city manager form of government, where the City Council sets policies but leaves many day-to-day matters to a professional administrator.

"I think the key was that the voters were ready for a change," he said. "They are ready for a leader in that new direction."

Political newcomers also took posts in two more local runoffs, with Susan Robinson defeating incumbent Gene Greeson in Dacula and Greg Whitlock beating former councilwoman Maxine Garner in Duluth.

In Barrow County, Bill Healan came in ahead of Alfonza Brown in a runoff for the District 3 commission seat.

While runoffs are notorious for fielding small voter turnout, both Webb and Johnson received more votes Tuesday than they did in November. Johnson came away with 369 votes to Webb's 317, according to the unofficial tally.

Webb, 79, has served 34 years in political office, including eight years as the head of the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners and 20 as mayor.

"I've won and lost before. Tomorrow's another day," Webb said.

She spurned any talk of retirement and said she was looking forward to participating in another medical mission trip to the Dominican Republic.

"Anytime you get in a race, there are winners and - I don't call them losers. It takes a lot of courage and determination to get into a race," she said. "I can look at what we accomplished ... and that's been very good."

Taking over after such a long-serving incumbent, Johnson said he has a "big learning curve," but he hopes to bring Webb and her supporters in to build a consensus in the city.

"Running the city is not about one person," he said. "I don't think things will look different. I think the mayor's and council's new job is to plan for the future. ... I think you'll see a shift to more of that."

Runoff Election Results

 

NORCROSS Mayor

Lillian H. Webb

 

Bucky Johnson

 

DULUTH Council

Maxine Garner

 

Greg Whitlock

 

DACULA Council

Gene Greeson

 

Susan Robinson

 

BARROW District 3 Commissioner

Alfonza Brown

 

William Doyle Healan