Phenix City councilman announces reelection bid

Phenix City At-large Councilman Ray Bush announced he will run for re-election during a press conference in the council chambers in the Phenix City Public Safety Building today.

Bush, 70, with his wife Pat at his side and an audience of 20 people, talked about the number of accomplishments the current council has enjoyed over the past 3 years including the off-ramps at the intersection of the North Bypass and Riverchase Drive, the agreement to purchase The Triangle section of Riverview Courts Apartments for redevelopment, and the Broad Street Streetscapes project the council inherited and executed.

"Overall I think this has been one of the finest councils that the city of Phenix City has ever had," Bush said. "Now we've differed on how to get to a lot of places that we've gotten to, but I believe everyone on the council has worked for the betterment of Phenix City."

Bush is expected to face opposing candidates — Jimmy Wetzel, who took the councilman into a runoff in 2004 before bowing out, and former At-Large councilman and Russell County Chief Appraiser J.W. Brannen.

Wetzel is a retired barber and a former commissioner on the Phenix City Planning Commission.

Bush made a single oblique reference to the situation that has clouded the last year of his term — the harassment charges by former City Clerk's Office administrative assistant Charlotte Sierra.

"It's been an exciting 3 years, some times more exciting than others," he said. Misdemeanor harassment charges brought by Sierra against Bush were dropped in Russell County Circuit Court after the presiding judge ruled trial testimony did not fit the harassment statute's legal standard.

Sierra, who now works in the city's Personnel Department, has a pending Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint against Bush and the city for sexual harassment.

But the councilman spent the majority of his speech marking the accomplishments of his first term while looking toward the future. He said the next 40 years should see considerable growth in Phenix City.