The Homerville City Council may want to consider a history lesson before they act on how to replace former Homerville Mayor Brooks Blitch IV, who resigned on August 18.
Word is out that the council is considering bypassing a special election in favor of appointing one of their own (councilman Elexis Williams) as mayor, then appointing another person to take Williams’s place on the council.
In the city’s charter, it states that “should a vacancy occur in the office of the major of said city, or an alderman of said city, the remaining alderman of said city shall elect some qualified person to fill said vacancy of the unexpired term.” The charter also states that in case there’s a vacancy at mayor, the mayor pro tem will fill in for for the mayor and be vested with those duties and authority. The charter also states that only “freeholders” (property owners) can be elected to the council or as mayor.
Obviously, the charter is outdated and conflicting in terms of what should happen in the case of a vacancy, and who is eligible for office.
The council knew this in 2020 when Mayor Tom Kennedy resigned. The city attorney at the time consulted with Georgia Municipal Association officials, who gave the legal opinion that the mayor pro tem should serve the rest of the term as mayor, and the city’s voters could choose a new mayor in the next election. In that case, the mayor’s resignation was well after his term’s half-way mark. In the current case, it isn’t. The mayor’s term ends on December 31, 2025.
The last time the Homerville City Council chose someone to fill a vacancy (in 2021), they chose someone who had been a city council member (Jamayla Morehead) before, but had been rejected by Homerville’s voters when she ran for re-election. The council appointed her to represent the same people who voted her out of office.
You might want to read that again.
Simply put: Let the people of Homerville decide who represents the people of Homerville. The city council can call a special election if they want to, for any vacancy. Homerville’s citizens are paying the bills. They deserve to decide who represents them on their council.
If you feel the same, tell your city council members. You can call City Hall at 912-487-2375 or go to the next meeting (Thursday, September 14, at 6 p.m. at City Hall) and express your concerns.
Circumventing democracy by appointment is essentially “taxation without representation.” People on this continent don’t take kindly to that. Look it up.
Do the right thing. Let us vote.