By: Janet Pelletier
Published: 04 April 2012
The Cherokee County Elections Board has announced it has chosen a new chairman who is certain to be, along with the board, busy as the county gears up for a July primary and November presidential election.
Randy Gravley, president and CEO of Tri-State Communications, whose companies own and operate five radio stations in North Georgia (including WLJA 101.1 FM/WPGY 1580 AM), is awaiting his swearing in to become official, according to elections supervisor, Janet Munda, who said she has sent off the documentation to the Cherokee County Superior Court and Secretary of State’s Office.
Gravley will serve a new four-year term, replacing Alan Shinall, who announced last month his resignation to run for the new 23rd District State House seat.
“He’s an upstanding citizen, and we felt he would best fit the board,” board member Mary Ann Rentz said of Gravley. “He’s at a good age; some of us are retired people and we felt that Randy would be best to lead us.”
Gravley, 38, said he was appreciative of the board’s confidence in selecting him, adding he put his hat in for consideration due to a respect for the election process. His interest in those matters likely developed after graduating from Cherokee High School, when he went on to graduate with a degree in education from Reinhardt University. “I was going to be a government teacher, and I’m assuming that that’s kind of where I got the bug and the appreciation for the election process,” he said.
Gravley said his goal is to continue to make sure Munda and her staff have the resources and the support to continue to make sure that every Cherokee County voter has the ability to vote in a secure, a fair and efficient manner.
“Janet Munda, along with her staff in Cherokee County, have made the registrar’s office one of the envies in the state, and I just want to make sure we continue to work hard and continue that distinction,” he said.
The nonpartisan position, which pays a stipend of $300 per month, is chosen by the four-member board, comprised of two Republicans and two Democrats. Aside from Rentz, one of the Republican members is fellow Republican member Cindy Castello, who has been serving as interim chair after Shinall’s departure, and Democrats Donald Sams and Frankie Shepherd. The chairman becomes the tiebreaker in the event the board needs one.
“I think there were about five (applicants),” Rentz said. “Some were people that we had met before or talked to before and some were new people. We were kind of in a press for time because … with no one in place, we had to go ahead and interview and do what we could so the board is full. We’ve got an election coming up in July, plus we just finished with the presidential primary.”
Rentz said she doesn’t see any conflict of interest with Gravley’s background in media with his new role. “Randy’s always been nonpartisan in everything. “I don’t think there would be any preferential treatment to either party or candidate or anything like that. He’s been in the public news business for a long time.”
Rentz said what stuck out to her about Gravley’s attributes were his being a lifelong Cherokee County resident who is active in many county affairs.
Gravley sits on the Cherokee Office of Economic Development Board, is a past president of the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce (2004) and serves on the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Foundation Board as well as the National Association of Broadcasters Board. He was also named to the “40 Under 40” list by Georgia Trend magazine.