Sandy Springs city officials have scheduled a special election for March 15 to replace a city councilwoman who resigned. Two candidates jumped into the race the day filing opened.

Sandy Springs City Council called the special election to replace former Dist. 4 Councilwoman Ashley Jenkins, one of the city’s original council members. Jenkins resigned Jan. 21 because she was taking a job that would require travel and could create conflicts with her public post, she said.

Filing for a shot at the seat opened Feb. 7. That day, two candidates in the district – Chiteka Jackson and Gabriel Sterling – announced they would run. Both filed their candidacies with the City Clerk that day, city officials said.

Gabriel Sterling
Gabriel Sterling

“I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this election and to ask for the support of my fellow Sandy Springs residents,” Sterling said in a press release issued Feb. 7. “This is our city, and we need to keep up our common-sense, conservative policies that continue to maintain the high quality of life we enjoy here.”

Chiteka Jackson
Chiteka Jackson

In her press release, Jackson said, “I love Sandy Springs and know that we can build a greater community by working collaboratively to remedy our issues, strengthen our economy and attract new opportunities.”

The election will be non-partisan, the city said. The winner of the election will complete Jenkins’ unexpired term and will have to run again in 2013. Candidates seeking the seat were required to live in Sandy Springs for at least a year and live within District 4 for at least six months.

Only residents of District 4 may vote in the election, city officials said. The city contracted with Fulton County to run the election, which will cost $15,400, City Attorney Wendell Willard told the council. If a runoff is required because no candidate draws a majority of the votes in the first election, the cost would rise to $29,645.

Voters must register by Feb. 14 to be qualified to cast ballots in the election. Anyone wishing to register may do so at the Fulton County government building at 141 Pryor St., Atlanta; at the North Fulton Government Service Center at 7741 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs; at the South Fulton Government Center at 5600 Stonewell Tell Road, College Park; or at any public library or facility that issues drivers’ licenses, the city said.

Advance voting will be conducted Feb. 21 through March 11 at the North Fulton Government Service Center. Votes may be cast between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. For more information, go to

Jenkins said her formal farewells to the council during its Feb.1 meeting.

“It’s been an absolute joy working with all of you,” she said. “You’re like family.”

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.