Bittner, who took the seat in a special election in 2012 and beat two challengers for re-election in the fall, will leave effective April 30, moving to a new job in Indianapolis.
“I have an opportunity that requires me to move out of the city, and that’s really all that it is,” Bittner said.
His four-year term is only three months old. Bittner, who is listed as a principal in the consulting firm Forward Focus Media on the school system’s website, said the job offer was unexpected and came only in the past couple of weeks. He will be moving to Indiana to become an account executive with a marketing firm called the Englehart Group.
“The time between running for office and the seating is pretty lengthy,” he said. “You have about two months there and the end of the term is when the opportunity came to be. I just found out in the last two weeks.”
Bittner said his position with Forward Focus Media will continue as a side business. The school board meets April 8 and will ask the Cobb Board of Elections for direction on finding Bittner’s replacement.
School board Chairman Randy Weiner said he’d like “for the Board of Elections to advise us on our options.”
“Brett has added a lot to the school board in the past several years,” Weiner said. “I wish him the best at his new job in Indiana.”
Clem Doyle, school board attorney, said there will be a special election rather than an appointed replacement because there are more than six months left in Bittner’s term.
“The school board will ask the Board of Elections to conduct a special election, that’ll happen in the next couple of meetings. When that election will occur is up to (Cobb Board of Elections Director Janine) Eveler’s side of things,” said Doyle. “There will not be an appointment. The way that law is set up is to avoid the need for a special election if there’s only a few months left in the term. If there’s any more than six months, they go to the special election process.”
According to Eveler, the earliest a special election could be held is Nov. 4, though it’s up to the school board and/or the city of Marietta to call the election.
Ward 1 encompasses the central portion of Marietta south of Roswell Road.
In the November election, Bittner took 56 percent of the vote, beating challengers Justin Clarke (26 percent), an assistant vice president with Bank of America, and Christopher Everett (18 percent), who owns a rental property management company.
The MDJ was not able to reach Everett or Clarke for comments regarding whether or not they intend to run in the special election.
Bittner also serves as executive director of the Libertarian Party of Georgia. He moved to Marietta from Smyrna in 2009 and attended the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business. In addition to the school board, Bittner has served on the city’s Historic Board of Review and the Historic Preservation Commission, appointed by the Marietta City Council. Of the seven board members, Bittner was the second-newest after Jeriene Bonner-Grimes.