As if Lorenzo Heard’s attempt to qualify for the at-large seat on the Dougherty County school board didn’t muddy the waters enough, a report earlier today surely should. Terrence Wilson, who is the leasing director for a property owned by Heard’s Second Greater Mount Olive Baptist Church has apparently submitted his petitions to challenge Velvet Riggins for her seat.
Riggin’s post is currently vacant after Governor Nathan Deal removed her due to an indictment for defrauding the system’s school lunch program. However, as she has only been charged, she remains on the ballot. Thus far, she is running unopposed.
Wilson told the Albany Herald, “I’m really not ready to comment about running yet because they are still certifying the signature and I don’t want to jump the gun,” and that, “Once the petitions are certified I will give you a full interview.”
Riggins is set to go to trial in September. If she’s found guilty, she will be removed from the Board of Education and the November ballot. If Wilson’s petitions are in order, he would then win the seat by default.
However, the timing of petitions from two of the staff of a single church has many Albanians concerned that one entity could become particularly powerful, especially since Heard is the pastor of a church that appears to employ Wilson. Some in the community have expressed concern that Heard, if elected, would actually have two votes on the board, as opposed to the single vote all other members would have.
At this time though, that doesn’t appear to be a concern as Heard is stymied by a technicality that appears to have his notice of candidacy thrown out, making it doubtful if he will be on the ballot in November.