Before former mayor Rosemary Baughman resigned, Michael Pollex was named Vidette’s Mayor Pro Tem.
As the city takes steps to reorganize its government structure, following the advice of attorney Chris Dube, it is unclear when current city council terms end. The city charter allows council members to appoint Michael to the mayoral position, but no one knows how much of Baughman’s term remains.
“We were all just haphazardly thrown in there with no set time and no set anything,” he said of the terms that were supposed to last between 2-4 years. “We have to have an election. That’s all coming.”
Although the issue was tabled last week after Councilwoman Samantha Williams refused to address his appointment as mayor, Michael is hopeful things will work out. “I would certainly hope so,” he said of the prospect of the council officially appointing him. He believes they will overcome current trust issues.
An innocent request to see the city charter turned into a defining moment for the city that for years was run while ignoring much of what was required by law. In good faith, Michael’s wife desired to give a copy of the document to an older life-long resident. The Pollex couple didn’t know what they had signed up for, but once they read the charter were enlightened and began asking questions.
Soon thereafter, Dube was hired to advise the local government on how to get the city in compliance. Shortly after that, Baughman and Councilman Waylon White resigned, leaving some accusing the Pollex couple of running them off. Williams expressed those sentiments during the city’s most recent public meeting.
So, who is Vidette’s temporary mayor?
Michael is employed at Ingevity where he has worked in production for approximately three years.
Born and raised as a child in Kansas, he attended high school in Minnesota. After he graduated, he served in the U.S. Army for eight years. He was stationed in Germany when he met his wife, Monalisa, who was also serving in the military. They have been married for 40 years this August. The couple has three grown children and one 7-year-old.
Approximately 30 years ago, the couple decided to move to Georgia. After renting a house in Waynesboro for a while, they chose to purchase a home in Vidette.
“It’s a quiet little place. It’s peaceful,” Michael said. “There is virtually no crime and it’s like this all day, not just after 5 p.m. It’s quiet, peaceful and slow paced, that’s what we like about it.”
Approximately eight years ago, the previous mayor, Rob Peel, called a town hall meeting asking for volunteers to sit on the city council. Michael agreed to fill one of those vacant seats. A few years later Monalisa agreed to sit on the panel as well.
If selected as mayor, Michael doesn’t want to change a lot about Vidette. He doesn’t see the mayor as the strongest figure in the town but rather a support for the city council. He wants to see the council build on the small-town charm that already exists and take steps to improve the quality of life for its residents. He wants to preserve the quiet, slow pace the town has to offer but add a few more public events, like community picnics.
Michael has no ill-will toward anyone on the previous administration. He wants to see the local government move forward in a positive manner.
“To make it a family-oriented community is what I really want,” he said. “I know Rosemary tried to do things like that during Halloween and Christmas and that’s a great start.”