A petition to recall newly-elected school board member Dennis Seger is apparently circulating around Ellabell, but it’s unclear who’s behind the measure.
One person reported to be involved in the petition asked not to be identified Friday, but claimed to have 400 signatures.
Others who say they know who’s responsible for the petition haven’t provided names.
Seger came under fire recently when board member Mary Warnell accused him of telling people before the fact that there was going to be a called meeting and that Superintendent Sallie Brewer’s contract would be bought out.
The school board voted 4-3 in favor of a buyout at a Feb. 19 called meeting and Seger voted with the majority. Warnell, who was against the buyout, also accused Seger of telling people he had plans to "fire everyone in the county office."
But Warnell said she did not hear Seger’s comments first hand and did not name a source.In the meantime, Bryan County Elections Superintendent Sam Davis said a public officer can not be removed during the first 180 days, or six months, of his term. To be considered, Davis said a petition must contain the signatures and addresses of ten percent of the registered voters in the Ellabell district. He said that would equate to 300 signatures, since there are 3,000 registered voters in that area.
After that, according to Davis, the petition will be reviewed and, if it meets all the qualifications, a recall election must take place. The ballot item would be whether or not to remove Seger from office.
Even if the recall was successful and Seger is eventually removed from the board, this would not negate any of the actions Seger made or will make before removal, such as the vote to buy out Brewer’s contract.
According to the Georgia Public Officers Recall Act of 1989, the grounds for recall must be in the following categories:
- committed an act of malfeasance
- violated his or her oath; committed an act of misconduct in office – described as a violation of the Code of Ethics for Government Service
- neglect or failure to perform duties
- misused, converted or misappropriated public property or funds
Seger denies any wrongdoing. He said he has heard talk of an existing petition, but has yet to actually see it.
"I’m still sticking behind my decision (to oust Brewer)," Seger said. "I did what I promised my voters I would. People have to do what they feel they have to do. As to the recall, I have no comment."
School Board Chairman Eddie Warren also said he has not seen the petition, but there are no legal grounds for removing Seger.
"This alleged petition that is going around is a waste of everyone’s time and energy because the accusations made against Mr. Seger are incorrect and come from a very poor source," Warren said.