Dawson County GOP elects delegates to district, state conventions

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“It was a wild time,” Convention Chairman Mike Berg said. “We sent out an email in advance telling folks not to come.” The caucus usually attracts between 30 and 40 attendees. “Eight people showed up,” Berg said. “We really only expected three of four.”

Those who helped work through the election process included Republican Party Chairwoman Seannie Zappendorf, Linda Clary, Clint Smith and Nathan Umberger. Zappendorf thanked Executive Committee members Dan Pichon, Dale Smart, Greg Hicks and Scott Yochum for dropping off caucus materials early.

Those who were elected will be notified this week.

Zappendorf is anxious to resume regular Republican Party meetings during this election year. “As soon as we get reports it is safe to meet we’ll get meetings going again,” she said.

She is also looking for ways to hold a forum for the 9th district House of Representative candidates.

“This may not happen in person but with all the technology available, we may can make something happen,” she said. “We have a request for local position forums as well. Thinking for our voters, there really has not been that much time to get to know the candidates. We may be able to do something for the Congressional candidates as well. “We have to do the responsible thing and be compliant to what our government sends out as recommendations.”

 

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. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

Challengers attack sheriff’s budget, wasteful spending during debate

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Sheriff Jeff Johnson

DAWSON COUNTY, Ga. — Challengers Jeff Perry and Marcus Sewell wasted little time attacking what they perceive to be Sheriff Jeff Johnson’s poor budget management and wasteful spending during his first term in office when the Republican Party held the first candidate forum of the political season Monday.

In his first year in office, Johnson sued the Board of Commissioners who, he claimed, failed to provide an adequate budget for him to perform his duties adequately. The lawsuit, which cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars, failed.

Perry, a veteran parole officer with 30 years’ experience in law enforcement, did not take direct aim at Johnson, but clearly his remarks referred to the sheriff.

Jeff Perry

“When times are bad you have to look at how you can cut,” he said. “Sometimes you might be faced with furloughs, layoffs. You have to manage that and be able to handle that budget. The difference in my money and your money is I can blow my money. But if I’m dealing with taxpayer money, I have to be accountable. If we’re going to run on Republican ideology of less government, smaller government and less taxes, we’ve got to start with the intergovernmental agencies like the sheriff’s office and road department. We can’t keep raising funds.”

Sewell, is a Captain and Commander of Investigations in the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office said Dawson County taxpayers are not getting the level of service they deserve from the Sheriff’s Office.

He pointed out that the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office budget is only $5.8 million to serve 32,000 residents the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office budget is $9.8 million to serve a much smaller population. “That is a $3.4 million difference,” he said. “So where is that money going?

Johnson bristled at the comparison to Lumpkin County. “I’m not worried about Lumpkin County,” he said. “I’m worried about Dawson County. You are my priority.”

Sewell said he would cut spending by eliminating the purchasing manager and human resources position in the sheriff’s office. The Board of Commissioners has offered to provide those services to the sheriff at no cost but he has declined.

“Over the last three years, we have seen the sheriff spend a lot of money on things that do not benefit us,” Sewell said “I would take the money the sheriff spends on toys and put that into the deputies’ pockets.”

Perry said he would offer his deputies an educational incentive. “That gives you a better-trained and better-educated officer,” he said.

Asked about the most important challenges the sheriff’s office will face in the future, Perry said the growth in population and how to increase the number of patrol officers on the street.

“One thing I want to do is have an auxiliary police force made up of volunteers in the community,” he said. “We send you to training. You work side-by-side with the police officer or deputy and wear the same uniform. What that does is it puts more people on the street at no cost to taxpayers except for the training.”

He also suggested creating a promotion board within the sheriff’s office. “When you run a company and have somebody that has been working with you a long time and has worked hard suddenly you have a promotion come up and they have no chance because you brought in somebody from the outside. at’s going to affect morale. I would propose we have the promotion board fill those positions from within.”

Johnson a veteran of 30 years of law enforcement shrugged off the attacks, calling it “political rhetoric.”

Johnson declared his first three years in office a success. “It obvious we’ve achieved success,” he said. “After three years, we’re enjoying the best retention rate and best recruitment we have seen in years.”

Asked how the sheriff’s office would work together with other county entities like the Board of Commissioners, Johnson said. “Will there be friction? Sure there will be friction. But at the end of the day, we will continue to discuss. We will continue to provide facts and figures to show we have a county in need.”

In closing, Johnson said, “Obviously my opponents don’t have a record to run on. They haven’t been your sheriff. It’s been my honor and privilege to be your sheriff. I’m proud of what we have been able to achieve and accomplish.”

 

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. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

Dawson County Sheriff candidates debate Monday

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DAWSON COUNTY, Ga. The Dawson County Republican Party will host a debate featuring the three candidates for Dawson County Sheriff — incumbent Jeff Johnson and challengers Marcus Sewell and Jeff Perry — Monday at 7 p.m. at Fire Station 2, 145 Liberty Road in Dawsonville.

Fetch Your News will have more details as they become available.

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