The Valdosta Daily Times
LAKE PARK —
Resigning from the Lake Park City Council earlier this year, Eric Schindler could have never imagined then that he would be the Lowndes County town’s mayor before the year’s end.
But, according to the unofficial results of Tuesday’s election, Schindler not only won the post, he could be Lake Park’s new mayor as early as next week.
Schindler captured 179 votes, or 58.31 percent of the cast ballots against challenger Michelle Ina Lane’s 128 votes, or 41.69 percent, according to the Lowndes County Board of Elections. The election must still be certified by week’s end.
“The time has come for our city to have some unity with council,” Schindler told The Times Tuesday night. “The people of Lake Park spoke. This is not about an individual but about the City of Lake Park.”
Schindler’s rise to mayor took an unlikely path. In January, moments after then-Mayor Ben Futch and two other councilmembers took the oath of office, several long-time Lake Park employees were fired. Councilmen Schindler and Paul Mulkey opposed the termination of these employees and called into question how the new mayor and members could make such a move within moments of taking office.
In February, Schindler and Mulkey resigned in protest, creating a lack of a quorum which stymied the city council from meeting until two replacement councilmembers were elected in April.
By early summer, citing political pressures and no longer wanting to be a “divisive element in the community,” Futch resigned as mayor. Mayor Pro-tem Sandy Sherill has served as acting mayor since.
Recalling his resignation after six years as a Lake Park city councilman, Schindler said Tuesday he could have never imagined then being elected mayor by year’s end.
“When I stepped away, it was pretty dark,” Schindler told The Times. “ ... I never thought I would be running for mayor.”