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

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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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Mayor Grogan Appeals Removal from City Council

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Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan has appealed his removal from office by the City Council.

On Monday, Dawsonville City Council voted 3-1, with Councilman Mike Sosebee opposed, to remove the mayor for alleged violations of the city code and charter.

On Wednesday, Grogan’s attorney Steven Leibel filed an appeal in the Superior Court of Dawson County.

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

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City of Dawsonville Votes to Remove Mayor Grogan

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Mayor James Grogan

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawsonville City Council voted 3-1 today, with Councilman Mike Sosebee opposed, to remove Mayor James Grogan from office for violations of the City Charter. Attorney Steve Leibel said his client would appeal the decision and until the appeals process has run its course, Grogan remains the city’s mayor.

“This was not a fair hearing,” Leibel said after the vote was taken. “(Council) violated the Constitution in finding against the Mayor. They did not give him due process and they didn’t give him a full opportunity to present witnesses. Unfortunately this is going to be very expensive for the City of Dawsonville. They are going to have to pay a lot of people a lot of money to fight this thing and it will be fought.”

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

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