As Brookhaven marches ahead towards cityhood, the Governor’s Commission on Brookhaven and its committees of volunteers are researching and compiling options of vendors to provide services the city will need. Some of those potential vendors have contributed to the campaign of mayoral candidate J. Max Davis.
Davis explained that he had accepted vendor campaign contributions at the Monday mayoral forum at Oglethorpe. He was not able to tell Brookhaven Patch which vendors have contributed to his campaign.
Fellow mayoral candidate Larry Danese said he turned down offers of campaign contributions from potential vendors because doing so is “totally and completely wrong.”
“It just would not cross my mind to do it,” Danese told Patch. He said it would be “inappropriate” to accept contributions “from people that I might regulate or hire.”
Mayoral candidate Sandy Murray said she has not been approached by vendors who wanted to contribute to her campaign. She said she would not accept them if she had because "it doesn't seem it's an appropriate option... (The vendors) are looking for some benefit. I don't think they're doing it out of the goodness of their hearts."
Saying that a complete disclosure of all his campaign contributions will be available online in five days, Davis did emphasize that the “vast majority” of his contributions have come individual residents and friends, not vendors. He did not specify which vendors have contributed.
Accepting money from vendors “doesn’t affect in any shape, form or fashion” the decisions of which vendors will be selected to provide city services, Davis told Brookhaven Patch. Those decisions will be “driven by, ‘Is it good for the Brookhaven taxpayer?’”
Davis said Brookhaven’s weak mayor system will allow the mayor and city council to “stay out of the way of professional staff.”
Ultimately, the city manager will make recommendations of vendors for the city, and the city council members will cast the deciding votes to award contracts to specific vendors. The mayor can only vote in the case of a tie, according to the Brookhaven city charter.
Murray said, "It'll be interesting to see what contributions have been made" to campaigns, including any from vendors and lobbyists. "It could be, I'm not saying that there is, but it could be a pattern of corruption before the city even starts up."
Should candidates accept campaign contributions from vendors? Will the acceptance or rejection of contributions from vendors affect the way you will vote in the upcoming election? Tell us below in the comments.