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Whatley to seek fourth council term
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Mike Whatley has decided against a run for mayor and instead will seek a fourth term on the Covington City Council.

Whatley, 59, said Tuesday that he had considered running for mayor, because he "thought it was time to run," but decided to seek re-election instead.

"I realized I could do a better job for my constituents as a councilman instead of a mayor, because the mayor does not have a vote," said Whatley, who has been the Post 1 East councilman since 2000.

"It wasn't that Kim (Carter) was a bad mayor, or that she's done anything that needed correcting. I may run next time, you never know."

If re-elected, Whatley's focus will be on keeping the Covington government efficient and at the right size.

"That doesn't mean we have to cut government, but we have to do smarter things with the money we spend. Sometimes you have to spend," he said. "Sometimes it takes money to have better government than people are accustomed to, as far as services."

He said he cuts to positions and budgets in the past few years were warranted because services didn't suffer. One  area he wants to keep an eye on is the city's affordable housing initiatives, to make sure the city doesn't waste money.

Whatley was deputy director for the Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority for 13 years, and now serves on the board of directors. He also spent 12 years working for the Georgia Rural Water Association.

Born in Rome, his family moved to Newton County when he was less than a year old. Whatley graduated from Newton County High School, and then attended college later in life, graduating from Clayton State University at the age of 45 with a degree in public administration and marketing.

Whatley was appointed by the governor to the Georgia State Board of Examiners for the Certification of Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators and Laboratory Analysts. The board oversees qualifications and licensing requirements for workers in the water and wastewater fields.

He and his wife, Billie Jean, have a son, Lauren, nicknamed "Fluff."