Dawsonville Voters Sweep Incumbents Out

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – In Dawsonville, voters swept the incumbents out of office Tuesday and elected two newcomers to city council. In a four-way race where the two candidates with the most votes are elected without a runoff, Mark French won with 159, followed by Steve Tolson with 134, incumbent Mike Sosebee with 118 and Angie Smith with 105.

It is difficult to determine whether or not Tuesday’s election results reflected the anger of voters over city council’s decision to impeach popular Mayor James Grogan. Smith led the charge to vote Grogan out, but Sosebee was the only council member to vote in favor of keeping Grogan.

Grogan announced recently that he plans to run for re-election in a special election early next year.

French has 20 years experience in public service. He spent 10 years working in Lumpkin County’s Finance Office and 10 years as the county’s grants analyst before entering the private sector. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from what was then North Georgia College and State University where he majored in Finance.

Tolson is a U.S. Army Ranger who retired after 20 years of service. He earned a Master’s Degree in Health Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. He now manages a medical group in Forsyth County.

DAHLONEGA

Former City Councilman Sam Norton’s decision to give up his seat to run for mayor paid off as he received 73 percent of the votes in a three-way race. Norton received 675 votes to defeat Rajpal Sagoo with 151 votes and Michael Clemons with 96.

Incumbents Roman Gaddis and Michael Ridley kept their seats on city council. Gaddis received 479 votes to defeat Johnny Ariemma who had 390 in Post 1. Ridley received a tough challenge from runner up Dewey Moye, but retained his Post 3 seat with 402 votes to Moye’s 351. Wesley Barron collected 138 votes.

In Post 2, Helen Fincher Hardman defeated Penelope Sharp 585 votes to 290.

JoAnne Taylor was the winner in Post 5 with 422 votes followed by Noah Steinberg with 264 and Alan Roach with 221.

CLEVELAND

There was no election in Cleveland. Incumbent City Councilman Bradley Greene and Kevin Stanley qualified unopposed in Wards 3 and 4, respectively. Stanley will replace Edward Young on city council.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

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UPDATE: James Grogan Issues Statement About His Plans to Run for Mayor in 2018

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James Grogan

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – James Grogan announced today that he is giving up his appeal to remain mayor of Dawsonville in order to save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and will, instead, run for mayor in a 2018 special election.

Grogan was voted out of office by City Council members Angie Smith, Caleb Phillips and Jason Power following a report presented to council on May 1 that outlined a number of alleged violations of city code by the mayor. Grogan’s attorney Steven Leibel appealed council’s action, but earlier this month, C. Andrew Fuller, Chief Judge for the Northeast Judicial District ruled the appeal was improperly filed.

Today (Oct. 31), Grogan issued the following statement:

“Obviously I am not pleased with the decision of the judge, however, it is very important to note the ruling did not side with the city council’s decision or their action. It was simply a technicality on a complicated issue that has never happened before in the state of Georgia. My heart is still in serving the citizens of Dawsonville and I believe ultimately it is their decision and not some random judge to decide.

“So instead of continuing the fight through the legal process and to prevent city council from spending any more of your tax payer funds frivolously on legal fees, I’m here to take the high road and say, let’s stop this now. Let’s put this back up to the voters.

“This morning I have stopped my appeal and I am announcing that I will rerun for Mayor in the special election in March and to serve you with all my heart. I have been serving you for many years and we have seen many great things happen in this city under my leadership. So, instead of three power hungry city council members and a random judge deciding the direction our city should take, and whether I should continue to serve you, I have decided to put the decision back where it belongs, with the citizens of Dawsonville.

“You and only you will decide whether I should be allowed to continue to be your leader. So please vote for James Grogan for Mayor in 2018.”

 

  

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

 

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Dawsonville Police Department? Could Happen!

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City Manager Bob Bolz

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – In a slide presentation to city council Monday, Dawsonville City Manager Bob Bolz presented reasons why the city should consider forming its own police department, what the potential cost would be and how it could be funded.

Bolz began by pointing out a rise in crime statistics in Dawsonville and other north Georgia cities similar in size to Dawsonville. He also said that only 22 of north Georgia’s 103 cities do not have a city police department.

Bolz suggested the start-up cost associated with the formation of a new police department could be paid from the city’s surplus funds and would include a salary and benefit package for a police chief ($80,338), one part-time deputy ($12,000), police-outfitted Dodge Charger ($30,000), officer equipment, including service weapon, uniform, bulletproof vest, hand-held radio and taser ($3,800) and office equipment ($2,000).

Potential funding sources, he said, include LOST and SPLOST funds, an increase in city revenue related to growth and development, rural city grants and renegotiated service agreement with the county.

No decision was made at the work session and council indicated they wanted to study the proposal. Comments made by Councilman Caleb Phillips and Councilwoman Angie Smith seemed to indicate they would favor creating a city police department while Councilman Mike Sosebee seemed less favorable.

 

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4 Candidates Vie in City Council Candidate Forum

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Four candidates running for Dawsonville City Council presented the reasons they believe they should be elected during the candidate forum at the Dawson County Performing Arts Center Tuesday.

The event was hosted by the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce. Reporters from Fetch Your News, Dawson News and Smoke Signals served as panelists. Chamber President Christine Haynes was the moderator.

The incumbents, Councilwoman Angie Smith and Councilman Mike Sosebee, made their case based on their experience in holding public office. The challengers, Mark French and Stephen Tolson, presented strong and relevant work experiences.

City Council candidates (from left) Mark French, Angie Smith, Mike Sosebee and Stephen Tolson. (Photo courtesy of Dawson County Chamber of Commerce).

French has 20 years’ experience in public service. He spent 10 years working in Lumpkin County’s Finance Office and 10 years as the county’s grants analyst before entering the private sector. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from what was then North Georgia College and State University where he majored in Finance.

French said the biggest challenge for Dawsonville is “how to engage more participation from the people we serve.” He suggested the best way to do that is to make sure the meetings are more open to the public. “I’d like to see the website updated so that those who have a different work schedule will at least have an opportunity to see what is going on in their community,” he said.

He also stressed the importance of working in cooperation with county government to develop a more aggressive revitalization plan for downtown. “I believe that can be the springboard to our future,” he said. “It would also allow an opportunity for controlled, managed, quality growth.”

Tolson is a U.S. Army Ranger who retired after 20 years of service. He earned a Master’s Degree in Health Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. He now manages a medical group in Forsyth County.

He said his management experience would be an asset to city council. “As a manager, the evaluation of business needs, planning and forecasting needs for the future and executing those plans is a big part of my responsibility.”

During his military career, Tolson said he participated in many short- and long-term planning sessions. “I believe that experience can be beneficial on city council,” he said. “I also attended a number of military training schools that teach you to utilize your decision-making process and problem solving techniques and to introduce a little common sense into the process.”

Smith, a lifelong resident of Dawson County, is seeking her second full term in office. She was appointed to the board in 2012 and won her first election in 2013.

In her opening statement, she expressed a commitment to honoring the community’s heritage and to personal honesty and integrity.

“I want to work hard to see this community grow and prosper,” she said. “To me, our heritage is extremely important. We have to remember those who came before us and who laid the ground work for us to be successful.”

Smith added, “Service with integrity is a goal of mine. Honesty to a fault is what you’ll get from me. It’s not always about the end result. It’s not always about the list of accomplishments. It’s about how that work was done and the honesty and integrity you carry yourself with.”

Candidates had divergent opinions when asked about the impeachment of Mayor James Grogan that took place earlier this year. Grogan was removed by a 3-2 vote of city council, but the removal is currently under appeal.

Candidates were asked if three council members should possess the power to override the vote of citizens of Dawsonville or if that decision should be left up to the voters.

Smith, one of the council members who voted to remove the mayor, said, “We can always have a conversation about how things need to be changed of if they need to be changed. But the fact of the matter is when you are sitting in office, you have a set of rules that guides you and that set of rules is what you are charged with fulfilling.”

Tolson said, “Certain decisions that are made should be offered up to the citizens. There are many circumstances that council should be able to make a call but in a situation of this nature, I really do think it should be offered to the people.”

French said, “It occurs to me that just because something is legal doesn’t mean it is right. I believe being a good public servant means you should listen to the community and get their input. I believe it merits an evaluation of all sides. Not just the leaders’ side.”

Sosebee, who voted against removing the mayor, said, “We are representatives of the people and we need to have a lot of input from the people to help us make decisions…not just those of us who sit on the council trying to make all the decisions.”

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

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City Council Candidate Forum Tuesday, Oct. 3

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. –City of Dawsonville residents will go to the polls next month to choose two people to represent them on City Council. You can learn more about the candidates by attending the City Council Candidate Forum Tuesday, Oct. 3 at the Dawsonville Performing Arts Center, 1665 Perimeter Road.

The event is being hosted by the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, Fetch Your News, Dawson News and Smoke Signals. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with the forum set to begin at 6 p.m.

There are four candidates for the two positions being contested. Candidates run at-large and the two who receive the most votes will be elected to four-year terms. Voters will vote for two of the four candidates.

The candidates are incumbents Angie Hammond Smith and Mike Sosebee. The challengers are Mark Wade French and Steve Tolson.

Members of the media will ask questions, some of which may you may submit to info@dawson.org

Election Day is Nov. 7. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. All voting will take place at the Dawson County Board of Elections, 96 Academy Avenue. The deadline to register is Oct. 10.

Advance voting will begin Oct. 16 and will take place Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. through Nov. 3.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

 

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Four Candidates Qualify for City Council Race

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Councilman Mike Sosebee will seek reelection in Nov.

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Qualifying for the 2017 city-wide, non-partisan municipal elections ended Thursday with two incumbents and two new candidates entering the race for city council.

Incumbent Angie Smith will seek her second full term in office. She was appointed to the board in 2012 and won her first election in 2013. Mike Sosebee has served on and off city council over the past 30 years.

The newcomers are Stephen Tolson, who lists his profession as healthcare administrator and Mark French, an office manager.

The election is scheduled Tuesday, Nov. 7 between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. All city voters will vote at the Dawsonville precinct, Dawson County Board of Elections Office; 96 Academy Avenue in  Dawsonville.

If you have any questions about your voting status, go to “My Voter Page” @ http://www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do or call the Elections & Voter Registration office at 706-344-3640.

Fetch Your News will post profile articles on all the candidates in the coming weeks and provide the most comprehensive news coverage of all the races.

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Qualifying for City Election Begins Monday

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Qualifying for the Nov. 7 City of Dawsonville Municipal General Election will begin Monday August 21 and continue through Thursday, August 24 from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. in the Dawson County Board of Elections Office, 96 Academy Avenue, Dawsonville, Georgia.

Two seats on city council will be contested in the November election, one seat is currently held by Angie Smith. The other is held by Mike Sosebee. Candidates for either of the two seats must pay a $180 qualifying fee.

Dawsonville municipal elections are non-partisan and candidates run city wide campaigns.

Election Day is Nov. 7 and polls are open 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

For information on qualifying, call 706-344-3640.

 

 

 

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Councilwoman Angie Smith is Determined to Preserve the Heritage of the City of Dawsonville

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Councilwoman Angie Smith

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – A lifelong resident of Dawson County where her family has lived for four generations, Dawsonville City Councilwoman Angie Smith welcomes the growth that is headed up the 400 corridor. But she is determined to preserve the town’s historic homes and its heritage.

Smith, who is in her first full term on city council, will run for reelection in November.

“If there is a topic near and dear to me, it is the history of this town, revitalization and saving the historic homes we still have left,” Smith said Thursday.

Smith graduated from Dawson County High School then earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in music education from then North Georgia College and State University. After graduation, she accepted a position at Blacks Mill Elementary where she taught music and coached the girls’ basketball team.

There are some ongoing projects – like the new city park — she would like to see continued in a second term.

“The new park can be a great addition, not just to the city but the whole community,” she said.

“I’ve said before if we can complete the downtown revitalization, it will be the single most positive change in my lifetime inside the city limits.”

Another important project Smith wants to see through is the streetscape.

“The sidewalk project that started under the late Mayor Cox has continued under this mayor and city council and it is fabulous. It does a lot to connect the people with the businesses. We still have a long way to go but we have made good progress.”

Smith is married to Scott Smith. The couple has two children, Ethan, age 13, an 8th grader at Dawson County Junior High, and Addison, 9, a 4th grader at Robinson Elementary School.

In addition to her duties on city council, Smith is a part-time employee of her family’s real estate management company and is also the Minister of Music at her church.

 

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