Council Biographies

Mayor Eddie DeLoachMayor Eddie DeLoach

Mayor Eddie DeLoach is the 66th Mayor of the City of Savannah.Prior to his election, DeLoach served as a Chatham County Commissioner serving the 7th District from 1992 to 2000. During his term, DeLoach was the author of the landmark Stevens-Day Bill, which gives tax relief to Georgia homeowners, and is a model for property tax relief across the country.

Beginning in 1984, Eddie and his brother, Jimmy DeLoach, grew Tidewater Landscape from a small landscape company to the current multi-state Tidewater Group, employing over 180 employees in nine states. DeLoach is a graduate of Groves High School, and holds a degree in History and Political Science from Berry College. DeLoach serves with the Rotary Club and Independent Presbyterian Church, and is involved with The Living Vine and Senior Citizens, Inc. He and his wife, Cynthia, have been married for 41 years. The couple has two children, Adam DeLoach and Tara Rocker, and four grandchildren.

Post 1 at-Large

Alderwoman Carol BellCarolyn Bell

Bell has resided in Savannah for 40 years. She has a bachelors degree in Mathematics from Shaw University and a masters in Public Administration from the University of Georgia. She completed post-graduate studies at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She holds certification from Georgetown University in Executive Leadership Coaching. She retired from the City of Savannah after 38 years of service. She is married to Joseph N Bell, Jr. She has one son and daughter-in-law and four grandchildren.

Post 2 At-Large

Alderman Brian FosterBrian Foster

Brian Foster is a native Georgian who is a graduate of Athens High School and the University of Georgia with a BBA degree. He has been married to Lynn for 42 years and lives in downtown Savannah. They have two grown children and two grandchildren. Foster retired after 31 years as an executive with Bank of America and founded First Chatham Bank in Savannah in 2001. He retired from FCB in 2014. He presently serves as board chairman of Savannah Technical College Foundation and is a member of Savannah Rotary Club. He previously served on 24 different boards in Savannah, including Savannah Economic Development Authority and the Savannah Development and Renewal Authority. He also chaired the United Way. He and his wife are members of Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church.

District 1

Alderman Van JohnsonVan R. Johnson, II

Johnson is a native of Brooklyn, NY, who holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees from Savannah State College and Georgia Southern University respectively. Johnson is certified as Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), a Certified Professional (CP) by the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR) and is a Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (POST) certified peace officer and law enforcement instructor. Johnson is the Chairman of the Human Development (HD) Committee for the National League of Cities (NLC). In 2010, he was selected by the Georgia Governor Perdue and the Obama Administration to serve on the Selective Service Local Board. Johnson serves as the Employee Services and Training Manager for Chatham County Government. He is the Director of the Chatham County Youth Commission and is the Council liaison for the Savannah Youth Council.

District 2

Alderman Bill DurrenceBill Durrence

A lifelong Savannah resident, Alderman Bill Durrence was born in the Second District. He and his wife, Barbara Gatens, own a home and have lived in the Washington Ward for more than 25 years. Alderman Durrence has been involved in residential quality of life issues and served on many Second District commissions and committees such as the Downtown Neighborhood Association Board, and the City of Savannah's Tourism Advisory Committee as well as being an active member of the Historic Savannah Foundation. In 1967, Durrence enlisted and served 3 years in the U. S Army. Before that he began his professional career working as a staff photographer at the Savannah Morning News, returning to the newspaper after his military commitment. During his second stint at the newspaper he found time to finish his formal education, enrolling at The University of Georgia, graduating, Cum Laude, with an ABJ degree in Journalism. Durrence worked in the technical and professional division of Nikon Inc. training the professional market, managing equipment depots at major events from the Olympics to national political conventions, and as part of the team selected to create the Nikon School of Photography. He continues to teach as part of his freelance business, while also leading domestic and international photography trips and workshops.

District 3

Alderman John HallJohn Hall

John Hall is a native of Thunderbolt, Georgia and graduated from Sol C. Johnson High School in 1969, the last class to do so before the advent of integration. Before winning his seat on the Savannah Council, he served eight years as a member of the Town of Thunderbolt Council, (1997-2005), the last four years as Mayor pro tem. As a member of the Georgia Municipal Association, he studied all facets of governance through courses offered by the Carl Vinson Institute of the University of Georgia, completing 100+ hours by the end of his Thunderbolt tenure. A noted part of the staff of Teeple’s Seafood establishment for many years, John now works as assistant to the Media Specialist at DeRenne Middle School. He has been involved in community affairs for most of his life, currently serving as a Board Member of the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum. He is also active with the American Federation of Teachers and the Chatham County Democratic Committee. John brings a deep knowledge and love of Savannah and its people to his position on Council. An avid gardener, he is married to Cornelia Houston Hall. They have five children and a beloved terrier, Teddy.

District 4

Alderman Julian MillerJulian Miller

Julian Miller, 65, is a native of Valdosta, GA who moved to Savannah in 2005 as publisher of the Savannah Morning News after serving as president of The Augusta Chronicle in Augusta, GA. He retired to start a real estate provision and management company in 2008 which he still owns and operates and joined the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department as its Public Affairs Administrator and spokesperson in 2010. He retired from that position in 2015 to run for city council. He is married to the former Judy Latimer. They have two adult children. He is a member of Agudath Achim Synagogue. She attends Savannah Christian Church.

District 5

Alderwoman Dr. Estella ShabazzDr. Estella Edwards Shabazz

Dr. Estella Edwards Shabazz was first elected to the Savannah City Council in 2011 and is currently serving her 2nd term as 5th District Alderwoman. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering Technology from Savannah State University, her Master of Divinity Degree from Turner Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theology Center in Atlanta, GA, and her Doctorate of Ministry Degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, OH.  Dr. Shabazz was the first African American woman Civil Engineer to be hired by the City of Savannah.  She has been a businesswoman and entrepreneur for over 33 years.  Dr. Shabazz is currently 2nd Vice President of the Georgia Municipal Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials and the State of Georgia Regional Director for the National League of Cities National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials, serving in both positions since 2015.   She is a member of the National League of Cities Women in Municipal Government and the City Council appointee to the Coastal Region Metropolitan Planning Organization Citizen Advisory Committee- 2018.

Dr. Shabazz, a lifelong resident of Savannah’s 5th district, is married to Mr. Yusuf K. Shabazz and has four children.

District 6

Alderman Tony ThomasTony Thomas

Thomas was first elected to the Council in 1999. He is currently serving his 5th term and is the longest serving member on the city council. He served as Chairman of Council from 2004 - 2016. Thomas is a native of Savannah who graduated from Windsor Forest High School attending Armstrong Atlantic State University and Savannah State University before launching a successful advertising firm based in Savannah with locations throughout Georgia. He holds a Georgia real estate broker’s license and is the owner of several retail stores in Savannah. Thomas has served on the Boards of the United Way, Southside YMCA Board, and the EOA Volunteers and Retirees Advisory Board. He has also served as the council liaison for the Savannah Development and Renewal Authority, the Trade Center Authority and the Savannah Convention and Visitors Bureau. He is a past Chairman of the Leadership Training Council for the National League of Cities; served as Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Community and Economic Development Steering Committee; Ambassador and Diamond recipient of the NLC; and the Military Affairs Council. Additionally, he served as the 12th District President of the Georgia Municipal Association as well as a member of the GMA’s Municipal Training Board and many other organizations. He is a graduate of Leadership Savannah and Dale Carnegie Training.