Ellis to run for District 5 county commissioner

Published 10:13 am Saturday, April 28, 2012

Terry Ellis recently announced his intentions to run for the Decatur County Board of Commissioners, District 5, seat. That seat is currently held by Russell Smith.

“I’ve been going to a number of commission meetings and workshops as a private citizen,” Ellis said. “I want to participate in the process of our local government.”

Ellis said he believes the county could improve its public image by being more “open.”

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“I want to make sure that we have open financial disclosure,” he said. “I want to make sure the press and the public have full and open access to its government. Right now, I don’t think that’s always the case.”

When asked what big issues are currently facing Decatur County, Ellis responded by saying that the county needs to be more proactive in attracting new businesses, and the commissioners need to work together better.

“We need to keep whatever jobs we currently have, and find as many new sources of jobs as we can,” he said. “The county commission needs to work together to make these goals happen. There are six people on that board; it’s not a one-man show.”

Ellis has business experience of more than 20 years and also already has an extensive career in public service at the state level. His public service career began at the Alabama Highway Department in the early 1970s. Later positions included Director of the Alabama Dairy Commission (six years of service) and Executive Technical Assistant to the President of the Alabama Public Service Commission.

In 1990, he was elected as Alabama’s State Auditor, receiving 68 percent of the statewide vote. He held that position until 1995.
In 1996, Ellis founded a financial lending company; he left that company in 2002 to begin real estate development. He developed and constructed multi-family homes on Hubert Dollar Drive in Bainbridge, which he operates and manages through his company, Bay City, LLC.

“I feel like I have a varied background and there’s a lot I have to offer in service to the county,” he said.

According to court documents, in 1999, Ellis pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion, in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Alabama, and was placed on three years of probation. Ellis’s voting rights were restored by the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles in November 2003.

“I’m not proud of it, but I can’t hide from it,” said Ellis, about the charge. “But at the same time, I hope it doesn’t make it to where I can’t offer my service to this county, where I live and which I love very much.”

Ellis is married to Donna, who is a life-long resident of Decatur County. Together, they have three children and six grandchildren. The Ellises are members of Fellowship Baptist Church.