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Candidate's residency questioned
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An official challenge has been raised to candidate Gigi Shinall's eligibility to run for Porterdale City Council Post 2 in November.

Linda Finger, who is also running for the Post 2 seat, has filed a complaint with the Porterdale City Hall which calls into question Shinall's residency qualifications to run for Porterdale City Council.

There will be a hearing on the matter at 2 p.m., Friday, Sep. 14 at a yet to be decided upon location in Porterdale.

 According to Porterdale City Manager Tom Fox, who also serves as Porterdale's elections superintendent, the complaint alleges that Shinall's primary residence is not within Porterdale city limits.

"You have to have a 12 months (primary) residency requirement to be qualified to run for office in Porterdale," Fox said.

When questioned about her residency qualifications, Shinall responded that she has lived in a live/work space apartment at the Porterdale Mill Lofts since Oct. 1, 2006 where she runs her alterations business, Gigi's.

Shinall said she reviewed the election rules before registering for the city council race to ensure that she met the city's residency qualifications.

While Shinall admitted she does own a house located on Washington Street - outside of the city limits - Shinall asserted that it was not her primary residence and that her brother had lived in the house until two weeks ago. Shinall said she is now turning the Washington Street house into a second location for her alterations business.

According to Finger though, the Washington Street address has been Shinall's primary residence for some time.

"I've had a number of people tell me that she does not live there (at the Lofts) now," Finger said.

Shinall said Finger has not spoken with her about the complaint.

"I don't even know why she's come up with this issue unless she's nervous about running," Shinall said.

Both Shinall and Finger - who has lived in Porterdale for 11 years - each said they were confident they would win the challenge on Friday.

"I feel like I have really good evidence to raise a challenge," Finger said. "This is nothing personal against Ms. Shinall. I'm just very particular about things being done according to proper procedure and I just feel like this slipped through the loop."

If Fox decides that Shinall does meet the city's residency requirements, Finger has the option of appealing the decision to the Newton County Superior Court.

Porterdale resident John Kottl has also qualified to run for the Post 2 seat against Shinall and Finger. Post 2 Council Member Mary Johnson will not be running for re-election.

Finger previously ran for Mayor of Porterdale in 2005 and lost to Bobby Hamby.