Dunbar, Shaw on ballot for New Ellenton mayor
The residents of New Ellenton will be voting for the town's mayor for the second time in less than a year.New Ellenton Town Council member Anthony Shaw and former New Ellenton Mayor Vernon Dunbar are running for the position.Tommy Brock, who was elected mayor in March, stepped down in June due to a conflict of interest when he accepted a job that placed him in two commissioned positions. Brock contacted the S.C. Attorney General's Office who advised him to either step down as mayor or turn down the job offer. That job offer was a law enforcement position at Wackenhut where Brock has been employed for 27 years. That position and town mayor are both commissioned spots.Dunbar, the Democratic candidate, was unseated as mayor by Brock and said he didn’t expect to be running so soon or ever again for mayor. He said the decision to do so took a lot of thought, prayer and many conversations with his family.Shaw, the Republican candidate, said he thought a little bit about running after Brock stepped down and decided to go for it, saying he wanted to keep council going in the direction it is heading now with various projects it is working on.Both men are New Ellenton natives and were classmates at Aiken High School.Dunbar served as New Ellenton mayor from 2006 to 2010. He has been involved with city politics since 1997, serving three terms on New Ellenton Town Council. He also served 11 years in the U.S. Air Force – four years active and seven in the reserves – and works at Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, where he has been an employee for 23 years.Dunbar said, if he is elected as mayor, he wants to step back into the position and concentrate on public safety. He said he has been at many meetings where residents have expressed concern about crime in town or the surrounding areas, and he wants to address that.Dunbar also wants more support for youth programs and is an advocate of bringing new businesses into town. He wants to work on the town’s drainage problem and concentrate on paving dirt roads.“The people of New Ellenton deserve a better break than what they’ve been getting,” Dunbar said. “I want New Ellenton to take its rightful place in the county.”He added that the revenue in the town has steadily decreased over the last few years, and something needs to change to fix that such as an overview of the budget.“We need to see what we can trim. There will be no decrease in services, but we need to tighten our belts any way we can,” Dunbar said.Shaw has served almost a year on Town Council. He has worked in the same building for 26 years, working at Goodman’s Chevrolet until 2008 when it closed and opened up his own business almost immediately in the vacant building called Anthony’s Automotive.Shaw said that the council is working on making sure that the town police are getting the training and equipment they need, along with setting up a website that will have all of the minutes and town financial information for residents to view. As for finances, he said that the council wants to review the town’s funds and find “more efficient ways to save taxpayers money.”“New Ellenton is a small town. What we need to do is manage the money better,” he said. “We’ve got to run the town like a business.”Shaw said he wanted to continue that and find ways to improve the town’s economy. He said that being a small business owner has helped him understand the struggles people are facing in this economy. He added that bringing new businesses into town is a goal of his.“I want to see the city grow rather than stay stagnant,” Shaw said. “I’m just trying to move forward. I’m not looking back; I’m looking to the future.”Election day is Nov. 2.Contact Amy Banton at email@example.com.