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Posted: November 5, 2013 9:24 p.m.

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Incumbent Dunn wins in Mansfield

In an unusual race that saw two sitting Mansfield council members running against each other, Post 4 incumbent Councilwoman Lisa Dunn defeated Councilman Larry Cummins, who switched seats to run against Dunn.

Dunn won the seat by a vote total of 38-35.

Cummins, who had served two terms, wasn’t particularly upset about the loss. He said the current situation with the council, which is divided over allegations of inappropriate spending of city funds by the mayor, is a mess.

“They’re all fighting amongst themselves, and you know, it’s penny-ante crap” Cummins said. “Like a bunch of kids. The thing is they’re stepping over dollars to pick up pennies.”

Dunn couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday night.

The council conflict in Mansfield centers on financial issues, including the city reimbursing Mayor Estona Middlebrooks for wages lost from her full-time job as a flight attendant while she was helping with tornado clean-up in late April. The city reimbursed Middlebrooks by paying three months of utility bills. The city council discussed reimbursing Middlebrooks, but never officially voted; however, Cummins told the city clerk to go ahead and reimburse Middlebrooks.

Dunn later discovered the reimbursement had been made, without council approval. She and fellow Councilman Marty Smallwood have since been looking into and questioning spending by the mayor for city purposes. Dunn has said the issue is not personal and she is simply trying to protect the city’s financial interests.

Cummins said he believes Middlebrooks has done a good job.

“I hate it on account of Estona. She’s come in and worked her rear end off. She’s been to meetings we never attended and things like that. She’s done a good job, I think. A couple other council members don’t think that. They’re new at this; they’ll learn a lot,” Cummins said. “It’s just politics in a small town… The town will go on.”

Dunn was first elected in 2009.

Voter turnout was 35 percent; Mansfield has 203 active registered voters, according to the Newton County Board of Elections.

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