“I’m pointed in the right direction, I’m going to make a difference in this city, folks,” said Eddie DeLoach to supporters Tuesday night as he claimed victory in the Savannah mayoral race.
It was a long, hard fought victory to be certain, amounting to not one but two campaigns. First, in the general election when DeLoach and incumbent mayor Edna Jackson were the two top vote getters. Then came another month of campaigning and the runoff election December 1st.
DeLoach was passionate about calling for change, garnering support from many well known businessmen in the area, although he believes he received support from many average citizens as well. By Wednesday morning, the win was sinking in. “That’s a big responsibility that you deliver on what you said you’re going to do,” he told us.
The main thing he said he would do is help people feel safe again. DeLoach pounced on crime problems in the city as he campaigned against Jackson, sometimes using the term “Wild West” to describe some parts of Savannah. He promises to meet with Savannah Chatham Metro Police Chief Joseph Lumpkin before he takes office next month. “I think just seeing what he (Lumpkin) has talked about and the way he’s been going about things here, he just needs the tools to do it and I hope he stays with us so we can make sure that happens,” says DeLoach.
He also told us he supports a continued merged police department with Savannah and Chatham County, although talks have broken down between county and city leaders. “There’s always room for compromise on these things, just take the personalities out of it and say what’s best for the citizens and obviously the best thing for citizens is that they have good police protection.”
DeLoach did tell us he was confused as to why issues surfaced and what the city’s position is, saying it’s likely citizens have questions as well. “Persons in charge are the hammer of the group which is the city manager and if they’re the hammer of the group, they need to get the job done,” he said.
DeLoach said he would evaluate performances of people such as City Manager Stephanie Cutter when he takes office and it’s ‘appropriate to do so.”
He’s also aware that four new people (three new alderman and himself as a new mayor) are coming into City Hall to serve with five incumbents. But he’s hopeful there will not be divisions between the new and the old. “I hope whenever we get cranked up and we start working with each one of them that everybody buys into that idea that you know we’re here to do the work of the people and we’re here to get the job done and we’re here to move forward,” DeLoach says.
In terms of work, he says his style will be direct and no one will ever wonder where he’s coming from. “We’re here to get the job done, we’re not here to talk about it,” he told me.