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City officials are refusing to accept Mayor Bob Smith’s Jan. 1 oath of office, citing a violation of state law.

In a Jan. 3 letter to Smith, Outgoing Mayor Dave Shearon, Mayor Pro-Tem Brian Brodrick and City Manager Sharyn Dickerson cited O.C.G.A 21-2-541.1, which states, “Unless otherwise provided for by the municipal charter, municipal officeholders shall be sworn in at their first organizational meeting of the new year…” 

When Smith arrived at City Hall late last week, he was prohibited from entering his office and conducting official business. 

“Swearing in or not swearing in, his duties do not begin until the organizational meeting,” Dickerson told The Oconee Enterprise.

A legal ad for qualifying in the 2019 Watkinsville Election, however, stated that the elected mayor “shall serve a term of office of two years, commencing on Jan. 1, 2020.”

Additionally, the two previous elected mayors—Dave Shearon and the late Charles Ivie—conducted official city business before their first organizational meeting.

For more on this story, see the Jan. 9 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website. 

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