Snellville's Wall of Mayors has one glaring omission.
Right there between Emmett Clower and Jerry Oberholtzer is a frame with the city seal. No portrait, even though the mayor is from the modern age of photography.
That's because Brett Harrell, who made history when his 1999 election ousted Clower out of office after decades, declined to be a part of the project.
Kelly Kautz, the current mayor who is no friend of Harrell's, announced the project last week. She plans to unveil the portraits, displayed inside the Council chambers, at Monday's council meeting.
"Restoring the mayors' portraits to City Hall was a priority for me once I was elected," Kautz said, adding that the historic pictures were found in the attic of a public works building. "I believe that we must show respect to those men who led and shaped our city, to our past, so that we can move forward with our future."
The black-and-white portraits date back to 1923. Kautz thanked Clower, a photographer for his help in adding his own and Oberholtzer's portraits, as well as thanking the city staff and the Snellville Historical Society.
Harrell said in an email he sent to City Clerk Melissa Arnold he would be willing to be a part of a short-term exhibit but did not want it to be a part of a permanent display.
"It remains important to me that my name or face not be emblazoned on any monument or display as if I alone was responsible for any success or failure for that matter," wrote Harrell, who is currently a state House member representing the community. "Just doesn't seem right to me that one person is held up as some great important character in the history of the city when, in fact, if anything great or important happened it would most certainly have been the result of 100 employees, other elected officials, and citizens that made it so."
In a phone call he added, "It's really kind of silly, if you ask me."
Kautz, who has not put her own picture on the wall, since she isn't a former mayor yet, said she was disappointed with Harrell's decision but will respect his wishes.
Chamber excited to host Gingrich
Business leaders are pegging the visit of a potential president as a sign that Gwinnett is a player in the national economy.
Newt Gingrich, who used to represent this area in Congress, will spend the morning of Super Tuesday at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast.
"I look forward to sharing my vision for America's future with those who have made Gwinnett County such an economic powerhouse," Gingrich said in a press release about the event. "Washington has a lot to learn from places like Gwinnett where it has been so welcoming to business and industry. As president, you will see my administration do everything in its power to create jobs and once again get our nation's economy back on track."
Chamber President and CEO Jim Maran said the event is an honor.
"The Gwinnett Chamber strives to provide its members and the Gwinnett community as a whole with educational and informative opportunities to support business growth," said Jim Maran, President & CEO of the Gwinnett Chamber. "We are honored to have Speaker Gingrich address Gwinnett and Metro Atlanta and pleased to serve as a strategic connection point between national leadership and local community."
The Chamber event, scheduled for 7:45 a.m. to 10 p.m. March 6 at the 1818 Club, costs $55 for Chamber members and $60 for non-members. Space is limited.
Today, Gingrich will be at First Redeemer Church in Cumming, where Rick Santorum addressed crowds a week ago.Isakson to address business leadersU.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson will keynote an address Monday at a Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce public policy luncheon.
The event is open to the public, although people must register to eat lunch.
Isakson is expected to discuss job creation through tax reform, regulatory reform and energy security, a media alert said. He is also expected to address questions from the audience.
The event is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at the 1818 Club, located on the third floor of the Chamber building on Sugarloaf Parkway.
Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.
Camie Young can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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