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Candidates announce 2012 bids
Brad Smith

The election may be two years away, but candidates are already lining up for the 2012 elections.

Board of Education member Brad Smith recently officially announced his bid for the Rockdale County Commission Chair on the Republican ticket. Donald Ferguson, who ran and lost for Sheriff in 2008, also has announced his intention to run again for sheriff in 2012 on the Democratic ticket. Sheriff Jeff Wigington has said he will be running for reelection in 2012.

Smith was elected to his first four year term on the Rockdale County school board in 2008; the term would end in 2012.

Smith is a Covington firefighter and veteran who retired from the Air Force after 20 years and a Heritage alumnus and a father of children in the RCPS system. He said he had been thinking about the decision for the past five months and announced his intention at the Nov. 20 Republican party meeting.

When asked why he wanted to run, Smith said he would like to change and update the format of the Rockdale County government. "I think it should move to a county management style of government," he said. "I think Rockdale County deserves a professional." He pointed out every four years a new person who doesn't know the job of running the county can be elected to the chairman's seat.

"Basically I want to set it up like the school board operates," he said. He explained the school board gives guidance and policy direction to the Superintendent, who oversees the day to day operations of the school system. "We report to the tax payer and (Superintendent Dr. Sam King) reports to us."

Board of Elections Supervisor Cynthia Welch said Smith would be able to stay on the school board until he officially files his intent to run during the qualification period in June 2012.The school board seats are all at-large seats so the board could choose to leave the seat empty for the rest of the term or appoint a replacement, she said.

Ferguson, a Fulton County deputy who ran and lost for Rockdale County sheriff in 2008, intends to run again for the office in 2012.

"One of the largest problems I see in this county is the community disconnect with law enforcement," said Ferguson, in a released statement. "The public is disgruntled because the perception is, that ‘No Body Cares.’ The Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office loses excellent employees constantly to agencies all over the metro Atlanta area dues to the lack of competitive salaries and compensation. When employees leave en mass, it makes community relations impossible."

Incumbent Sheriff Jeff Wigington, who has served as Rockdale County sheriff since 1997, has said he intends to run for reelection.