3 candidates make their announcements to run for Post 3


With the controversial Post 3 Councilwoman Gretchen Caola having left both Peachtree City and her council post, five men have stepped up to convince city voters to let one of them take her place.

The five are Phil Crane, Mark D. Gelhardt, Sr., Kenneth Hamner, Clint Holland and Kevin Madden.

Madden — the incumbent in Post 3 — and political newcomer Crane both were turned away by city voters last November in favor of Caola and Frank Destadio, respectively.

Both want another shot at helping to govern the city on the five-person council. The Citizen has offered one free announcement to each candidate for Post 3 Peachtree City Council to fill the remaining three years of Caola’s term.

The Citizen has not received announcement letters from two candidates — Clint Russell and Kevin Madden — and thus those two are not included in the announcements below. The official announcements of three candidates that we received are below in alphabetical order.


Phil Crane announces for City Council Post 3

Phil Crane Post 3 candidate
Phil Crane, Post 3 candidate

Many of you may remember me from a year ago when I ran for City Council. I’m a Peachtree City native and a local business owner.

I have another chance to serve Peachtree City citizens and I am happy to announce my run in the November 8th special election for Post #3. I’ve been preparing for two years to represent Peachtree City as effectively as possible.

Some of my campaign pillars are:

• Renewing trust in Peachtree City Government.

• Clear, timely communication and information dissemination.

• Target problems versus burdening citizens with ever-increasing restrictions.

• Update our building ordinances to stop overdevelopment, let’s build better, NOT bigger.

• Attempt to work with GDOT for a PTC-focused solution to 54/74, if one exists.

• Continue to transition the path system and recreational areas to promote accessibility.

• Revisit the ordinance banning Yard Sale and For Sale signs.

• Exhaust every constitutionally legal option to fix the cut-through problem in Planterra.

• Streamline the permitting process for events and food trucks at Drake Field.

To begin developing clear communication with anyone who is interested in meeting, I will be at:

Line Creek Brewing Wednesday afternoons from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Blume Organics in Willow Shopping center on Friday mornings from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Stop by and voice your ideas or questions.

If I’m not aware of a problem, then I can’t do anything about it. Please call or email me at VoteCranePTC@gmail.com and (404)783-7053

Phil Crane

Stay up to date at VoteForCrane.com


Mark D. Gelhardt, Sr. announces for City Council Post 3

Candidate for PTC City Council

Mark Gelhardt, Post 3 candidate
Mark Gelhardt, Post 3 candidate


• DUTY — A moral or legal obligation — a responsibility — I feel it is my duty to support my country, state, and city and be a participative member of society, (i.e., help my fellow citizen) — I am running for office because it is my DUTY to help my community.

• INTEGRITY — The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles — I do what I say and I say what I do, what you see is what you get. I work for the greater good, not for my own well-being.

• COMMUNITY — A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common — I love this city and believe I can help this community stay a place where the quality of life is outstanding and citizens are safe. Also, I what to grow and advance our community into the future to make it even better, growing with the times and technology.


I am an individual thinker, I am a listener, I hope to have a two-way dialogue on all issues, I want to try and understand both sides of any issue, and then I will do what is right.

Do what is right for the community

• LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE — I am a proven leader. I have led soldiers in combat, I have led corporations, and I have led volunteer organizations. I know how to motivate people to get things done.

• FINANCIAL EXPERIENCE — I have had years of executive experience working with multi-million-dollar projects and budgets.

• SOLUTION FINDER — I know how to ask questions, listen to the answers, understand complex issues, and then come up with a solution that best fits what we can do with the resources we have.

• DECISION MAKER — I am not afraid of making a decision and stand by that decision. I will always have a reason why I did something and be able to explain that to you the voter.

• POLITICAL STRESS — I understand stress and how to handle it. I worked in The White House in one of the most politically stressful jobs in the world. Millions of people’s lives depended on what my team and I did every day.

• INTEGRITY — Politics is a compromise — I understand this, but I will NOT compromise my integrity — that line I will not cross. This is all you have in the world that you have control over is who you are.

A little background on me

• 22+ year resident of Peachtree City (PTC).

• Life Member of the PTC Fire and Rescue Assoc.

• 10+ years as a PTC volunteer firefighter. Volunteer officers on the department.

• Help the PD start the Civilian Emergency Response Team (CERT) was certified instructor.

• Attended PTC Citizen Police Academy.

• Active member of PTC American Legion Post 50, Immediate Past Commander.

• Active member of PTC Veterans of Foreign War (VFW) Post 9949, currently Senior Vice.

• Active member of PTC Toastmasters Club, currently President. Has been awarded the Distinguished Toastmasters (DTM) twice.

• Active officer of my Home Owners Association (HOA) as Secretary for many, many years.

• Past Commander and Member of the PTC Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Composite Squadron.

• Retired Army Officer and Combat Veteran. Awarded Presidential Service Badge, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Legion of Merit, Soldiers Medal (highest peacetime medal for bravery), and many other awards.

• Duty Army service was nominated and selected to be the Chief Information Officer (civilian equivalate) at The White House and worked daily with President Clinton.

• Brigadier General Gelhardt is currently the Commanding General for the Georgia State Defense Force. Nominated by the NG TAG and selected by the Governor Kemp.

• Well-known keynote speaker on topics of Information Technology, Cyber Security, Motivation, Politics, the Military, and more.

• Author of “My time at the Clinton White House.”

• Adjunct Professor Emory Univ – Cyber Security

• Over 20 years of Executive leadership in Information Technology and Cyber Security in multiple multi-national companies. Just retired from US Bank where I was the SVP of Global Technology Governance (see civilian bio).


• GOLF CART PATHS – SPEED BUMPS – I am not in favor of speed bumps. If we have a speeding or safety issue with our paths let’s figure out what the real problem is and develop a solution for that problem. The City went down the right path by putting together a committee to research this problem. But the city stopped short in its review and did not publish to the citizens its findings.

• LIVABLE CENTER INITIATIVE (LCI) – I am not in favor of higher density in the center of town as the current LCI concept plans show on the PTC website. I am open to dialogue on how to improve a town center concept but not as currently shown.

• TRAFFIC 54/74 INTERSECTION – The city has no control over this issue as both are state roads (see PTC Comprehensive Plan – Page 11).

• CITY BUDGET and TAXES – I believe the city is currently in a good spot and has been a good trustee of the citizens’ money. We must always keep an eye on this as the economy changes and keep our Police, Fire, and City staff in mind for adjustments as needed.

• EMERGENCY SERVICES – I am a STRONG supporter of the Police and Fire Departments. I have worked closely with both over the years and believe our quality of life in PTC is closely related to these services.

• RECREATION SERVICES – We must be strong supporters of keeping our athletic fields, and equipment in shape and up to date. One thing that brings younger families to Fayette County and PTC is our quality of life including our education and recreation services.

• CODE ENFORCEMENT – I am not in favor of variances. We must enforce the current guidelines we have within the city to keep the city up to a standard we all want to live in. If you make a variance for one person you open up the door to having to do one for another person. The city must treat everyone fairly and equally.




Kenneth Hamner announces for City Council Post 3

Kenneth Hamner, Post 3 candidate
Kenneth Hamner, Post 3 candidate

I am Kenneth Hamner, and I’m running for Peachtree City’s newly vacated city council seat.

For far too long, our local leadership has not listened to us. They have supported ideas that strayed from our village concept like the Great Wolf Lodge, the Living Centers Initiative, and other higher-density residential projects.

Our city is facing other problems as well. Traffic, burglaries, and drugs are getting worse, and actions taken by a recent council member were out of step with the behaviors we’d expect from a public servant.

We need leadership that preserves Peachtree City and restores integrity and transparency.

I understand what makes this place special. I graduated from McIntosh in 1999. I returned home ten years ago to raise my family, and I have proudly worked as a public servant for this community. I’ve served on the Peachtree City Planning Commission since 2019 and worked hard to restrict development to maintain our city’s character. I’m also a member of the 2023 SPLOST Advisory Group to allocate $67 million to local projects.

I know city staff and how our government works. I will not be learning “on the job” and will hit the ground running to preserve our community by focusing on the following:

• Restore Integrity To Our City — Do what’s best for us all, not the select few.

• Improve Our Traffic — Address the root causes behind our gridlock while targeting hotspots.

• Save Our Unique Character — Revitalize our city without sacrificing our community.

• Grow Our Economy — Minimize our taxes while encouraging investment.

• Support Our City Services — Ensure our path system, public safety officers, and recreation have the resources they deserve.

• Protect Our Greenspaces — Conserve our natural greenspaces for future generations.

If you are as committed to preserving Peachtree City as I am, then please check out my website at www.HamnerForPTC.com and follow my campaign Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HamnerForPTC.

I will also be hosting a gathering this Friday morning from 8:30 to 9:30 at Rooted Cafe (1325 Commerce Dr, Suite 100). I hope to meet you then or at another one of my events listed at www.HamnerForPTC.com/events.

I’m excited for this campaign and hope to earn your vote on November 8th. Please reach out to me at kenneth@hamnerforptc.com if you have any questions or need anything else.

Thank you,

Kenneth Hamner

Candidate For City Council, Post Three


The two candidates who did not submit letters announcing their candidacies may do so free of charge anytime before Oct. 17, which is the first day for advanced and absentee in-person voting for the Nov. 8 special election.


  1. Currently, Gelhardt lost my vote. I don’t like his comments about variances, “I am not in favor of variances. We must enforce the current guidelines we have within the city to keep the city up to a standard we all want to live in. If you make a variance for one person you open up the door to having to do one for another person. The city must treat everyone fairly and equally.”

    Specifically, I don’t care for the concept that all our codes, requiring enforcement, are infallible, fair and equal. Our City is not a “cookie cutter” type of place. If it were, we will not want to live here. For residential zoned properties, there are different size and shape lots, different size and shape houses, and houses located on different ways on their lots. Neighborhoods have as many different characteristics and they have in topography.

  2. The Village Green Disc Golf course definitely needs an upgrade. It hasn’t had new baskets and tee pads since it’s inception in the early 80’s. I would think 40+ years, out of the equipment installed, is sufficient and should be revamped! The tee pads are slick as ice and are dangerous from being so outdated and worn, the low spots that flood the tee pads and force you to tee off in ankle deep water for several days after a rain, the erosion that has long been exposing the massive roots of the trees along the edges of the course and create trip hazards throughout the course need attention and the ground brought back up several inches, the baskets are old and worn out and some are crooked from tree branches falling on them in storms, the huge sink holes from erosion next to the creek that’s extending into the fairways needs to be addressed, it needs an upgrade and safety issues taken care of. A lot of our residents use this course and more and more are starting to as the sport grows rapidly. It’s literally in the epicenter of our city and is an eye sore with the lack of upkeep on the erosion issues and old worn out equipment. It would even be that costly to do these things and install appropriate concrete tee pads and up to date baskets. A lot less than a single pickle ball court or playground…….

    • I’ve only played disc golf a few times but I do remember those tee pads being slick and I worried about getting injured. As far as history on the course, I do remember that a local Boy Scout did an eagle project where all the baskets were refurbished and painted. Not sure what else was done.

  3. I’m interested in the candidates’ positions on the SPLOST. Dr. Crane and Mr. Hamner are on the SPLOST advisory group so it seems they are in favor. What about General Gelhardt? I’d also like to know what the candidates plan to do about some our recreational facilities that really need some attention. Riley Field track has needed resurfacing for close to a decade, and somehow we could install new pickleball courts (note I support pickleball courts) without paying attention to Riley Field track (apparently Recreation and the City Engineering are reviewing resurfacing currently). City infrastructure is not just the cart paths and roads. There are buildings and recreational facilities, too, and a full inventory with a preventive maintenance schedule is necessary. Once the City invests in a facility, it means they own the maintenance forever, unless the Mayor, Council, and the citizens agree to stop- and do so with full transparency (e.g. speed humps showing up with no public input other than very general recommendations of an advisory group).

    • Mr. Shultz, while you are correct that both Mr. Hamner and I served on the SPLOST advisory group, Mayor & Council did make changes to the final list. Specifically, regarding Riley Field, we were told by staff that it was already budgeted to be replaced and should not be put onto the SPLOST list. I agree that the city should budget for more M&O in our yearly budgets.
      As far as speed bumps go…however they came about, speed bumps are a lazy way to attempt to calm traffic. If a Golf Cart is capable of getting up to speeds that are considered “too fast” between each speed bump, then the speed bumps fail to solve the intended problem.