City proposes massive pay cut for next mayor

News

Former Mayor James Grogan

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – After Dawsonville’s City Council held the first public hearing on slashing the mayor’s pay by 70 percent from $2,000 to $600 a month Monday, former mayor James Grogan accused council members of trying to keep him from running in the March 20 special election.

“It’s a punitive action to keep me from running,” Grogan said Tuesday. “It all revolves around their ongoing effort to discredit me and keep me from wanting to run. I’m disappointed in what is going on with council.”

City council impeached Grogan in May, alleging that he had violated the city charter and policies. Grogan has repeatedly maintained his innocence.

He filed an appeal in Dawson County Superior Court, but Judge C. Andrew Fuller ruled the appeal had been improperly filed. At that point, Grogan chose to discontinue his appeal and announced he would campaign for his old job in the next special election.

City Mgr. Bob Bolz

“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,” he said at the time. “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 am here to take the high road and say, let’s stop this now. Let’s put this back up to the voters.”

City Manager Bob Bolz says the proposed reduction in pay is not punitive but reflected the new responsibilities of the job.

“When the late Joe Lane Cox was mayor, he also fulfilled the responsibilities of city manager,” Bolz said. “That carried forward into Mayor Grogan’s tenure.”

Now that the city has a full-time city manager, Bolz said, the responsibilities have changed and council felt the pay should change as well.

A second public hearing on the issue is set for Dec. 18.

 

 

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

News

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!

News

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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Four Candidates Qualify for City Council Race

News

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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Tolson Brings Strong Credentials to City Council Race

News, Politics

Stephen Tolson, Candidate for Dawsonville City Council.

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Stephen Tolson has qualified to campaign for a seat on the Dawsonville City Council and the 40-year-old father of three has all the right qualifications to become a formidable opponent.

He has a Masters Degree in Healthcare Administration and a professional work experience as manager of a Cumming medical group. He also has a 20-year proven record as a dedicated public servant. He is a retired Sergeant First Class in the U.S. Army.

Tolson said he has attended many city council meetings and feels he knows the issues facing a city on the verge of explosive growth.

“I’ve lived here since 2008 and the city has been in a bit of turmoil the last few years,” Tolson said. “I have traveled around the world in the army and I feel like I can bring some insight to the city council. I believe city government needs someone new who has been around and can offer a new perspective.”

Tolson recognizes that managing growth is the key issue he will face if he is elected. But he said there is another issue, less talked about perhaps, but vitally important to the community — the growing epidemic of illicit drugs.

He said it is a problem that is growing locally as well as nationally and is devastating to communities.

Having a bachelor’s degree in psychology Tolson said he has seen how destructive drug addiction can be. “It breaks my heart to see what it does to families,” Tolson said. He added that he would like to see some sort of program the city could associate itself with to help combat the epidemic.

Tolson and his wife Sandra have two sons, Tristan, 3,  and Stephen Jr., 5, and a daughter, Alejandra, 14.

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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Judge Fuller Could Rule This Week on City’s Motion to Dismiss Mayor James Grogan’s Appeal

News

City Attorney Dana Miles

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Enotah Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge C. Andrew Fuller could rule as early as this week on a  motion to dismiss an appeal by Mayor James Grogan of his impeachment by the Dawsonville City Council.

City council has accused Grogan of violations of the city charter and, on May 15 by a vote of 3-1 with Councilman Mike Sosebee opposed, removed him from office.

Steven Leibel

Grogan and his attorney Steven Leibel immediately filed an appeal de novo in Superior Court and the mayor was reinstated while the appeal process played out.

City Attorney Dana Miles then filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the appeal for a new trial de novo is not the correct method and that the only method for review is by certiorari.

Leibel countered that Miles is wrong and that the legislature gave his client the right to determine if he wants to go by cert or de novo.

If the appeal is not dismissed, Miles wants Grogan removed from office and his salary of approximately $3,600 per month and benefits returned to the city.

Fetch Your News has reported the decision to impeach the mayor has already cost taxpayers approximately $73,000.

Grogan is accused of lowering rezoning fees for applicants without prior approval of city council, allowing a business to pay a lower rate for water/sewer service without prior approval of city council and approval of payments to non-profit groups, something that has been a common practice of the city for many years.

Grogan has maintained his innocence and said he has done nothing wrong.

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Cost to Impeach Mayor Grogan Skyrockets Taxpayers Now on the Hook for $73,000

News

Mayor James Grogan

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Just three months into the process, the cost to taxpayers for Dawsonville City Council’s effort to impeach Mayor James Grogan is skyrocketing. According to city documents obtained by Fetch Your News, the cost has already topped $73,000.

According to those documents, City Attorney Dana Miles’ law firm of Miles, Hansford and Tallant has billed the city a total of $31,296.63 so far.

The law firm of Hulsey, Oliver and Mahar has billed a total of $10,929.12 for Ab Hayes to serve as the independent third party to investigate the actions of the mayor and prepare a report based upon the investigation of the mayor.

The law firm of Ragsdale, Beals, Seigler, Patterson and Gray billed $1,420 for fees to the City Court Judge for handling matters prior to and in conjunction with the hearing for removal of the mayor and the recently hired law firm of Webb and Powell has thus far billed $3,674.

Grogan has said all along that he did nothing wrong and has filed an appeal. As an elected official, he is entitled to legal representation at city expense. Attorney Steven Leibel represents the mayor and thus far, he has billed the city approximately $26,000, which brings the cost to Dawsonville taxpayers to just over $73,000.

“The mayor said at the last meeting this would be very expensive for taxpayers and he suggested finding a resolution short of impeachment,” Leibel said. “Unfortunately the taxpayers now have to shoulder the legal expenses because they didn’t resolve this unconscionable impeachment effort.”

City Council has accused Grogan of violations of city code and policies including lowering rezoning fees for at least three applicants without prior approval of city council, allowing a business to pay a lower rate for water/sewer service without prior approval of city council, and approval of payments to non-profit groups, something that has been a common practice of the city for many years.

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

News

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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