By John Schaffner
With the official qualifying period more than a month away, Donald P. (Donnie) Bolena, 44, has announced his intention to run for mayor of Sandy Springs in November.
At present, the other two unofficial candidates in the race are the incumbent, Eva Galambos, and Bob Brown, a longtime Sandy Springs resident and owner of Red Baron’s Antiques on Roswell Road. Brown last September announced his intention to seek the office.
The official qualifying period runs from Aug. 31 to Sept. 4.
Bolena, who is a co-founder of the Christian Sports Network and the founder of Christians fo4 America, told the Sandy Springs Reporter, “For me this would be a great honor as I will prepare to run a great race.”
He initially said he decided to run because he understood Galambos was not going to seek re-election. But after being told the mayor does plan to run again, he indicated he still intends to enter the race.
Bolena and his wife, Suzanne, have three children, ages 14, 17 and 19. He attended Florida Community College in Jacksonville and Liberty University and is the author of two self-help books, “Master Manipulator” and “Just Do the Little Things.” He is a member of Mount Paran Church of God.
According to his résumé, Bolena is best known as a motivational speaker “based on his past life experiences as son, father, husband, businessman, visionary and strong Christian values.” His nonprofit organization, Christians fo4 America (www.christiansfo4america.org), is at 227 Sandy Springs Place in Sandy Springs.
The City Council honored Bolena on May 5 for helping police Officer Derrall Philson apprehend a robbery suspect at a Bank of America branch March 24.
At the time of his announcement, Brown said he would run for mayor of the city because Sandy Springs isn’t business friendly. “Small businesses and large businesses seem to be having tremendous trouble with the city getting zoning,” he said. “It takes an inordinate amount of time.” Brown said he planned to retire from his business soon and would be able to devote full time to serving as mayor.
There was some early speculation that Mayor Galambos might not seek re-election after she went through treatment last year for a form of lymphoma. However, she has since indicated she will be a candidate for a second term.
The mayor has lived in Sandy Springs for almost five decades and is a retired economist specializing in urban finance and labor economics. She was president of the Committee for Sandy Springs from 1975-2005, which led the effort to incorporate Sandy Springs.