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Dawson County Superior Court Judge C. Andrew Fuller
PHOTO COURTESY HALL COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

Decision expected quickly regarding mayor

By Denise Ray, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A decision on the future of Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan is expected soon.

Friday, Aug. 11 was the deadline for attorneys to file responses to each other’s motions and Dawson County Superior Court Judge C. Andrew Fuller is expected to issue his written order quickly regarding the fate of James Grogan as mayor of Dawsonville.

The city council voted to remove Grogan from his elected position in May of this year for violations of the city charter as a result of an investigation by Gainesville City Attorney Abbott Hayes.

Dawsonville City Charter and Code stipulates that “the mayor or any councilmember shall be subject to removal from office for any one or more of the following causes: incompetence, misfeasance, or malfeasance in office; conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude; failure at any time to possess any of the qualifications of office as provided by this Charter or by law; willful violation of any express prohibition of this Charter; abandonment of office or neglect to perform the duties thereof; or failure for any other cause to perform the duties of office as required by this Charter or by law.”

Hayes alleged that violations included a reduction of rezoning fees for several applicants without prior approval from council dating back to 2013, allowing State Rep. Kevin Tanner to pay the lower residential rate for water rather than the commercial rate for a business property without prior approval since 2015, making donations to nonprofit organizations from 2013 to 2015, use of a city-issued credit card for alcohol and gas on city business from 2011 to 2015, payment for meetings in 2013 and 2014 without prior council approval, and the purchase of alcohol (moonshine) in 2014 to be used as a door prize for the Georgia regional government dinner.

The charter effectively states that the outcome for violation of its content is removal from office. Alternative penalties are not indicated, therefore lesser outcomes are nonexistent.

In a 3-1 vote, Grogan was removed from office. Councilmember Mike Sosebee voted against removal. Grogan appealed the decision, which was his right as stipulated in Section 5.16 of the Code and resumed his mayoral duties until his appeal is resolved. The city then filed a motion to dismiss the appeal. Judge Fuller is expected to issue his written order soon.

Should Grogan be removed by Fuller’s judgement, a temporary mayor would be appointed, possibly Mayor Pro Tempore Jason Power. A special election would be held to elect a new mayor.

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