Liberty County Superior Court Judge Jay Stewart is reviewing state statues and will soon render a decision on the Walthourville recall petition case.
On Nov. 6, plaintiffs Paulette Jamison and Anita Scurry requested that their recall petitions against City of Walthourville Mayor Daisy Pray and council woman Patricia Green, be re-opened. At the hearing the plaintiffs alleged that city clerk Melissa Jones committed fraud by not being certified as an elections superintendent as required by the state. They said Jones, however, served in that capacity for the city and throughout the course of the petition proceedings.
The women said they requested records from the state which showed the last person certified was former city clerk Shana Moss in 2015.
The two women stood before Judge Stewart asking him to consider throwing out the previous dismissal due to the fraud and to have the district attorney’s office to investigate Jones and Pray.
Walthourville city attorneys Jeff Arnold and Andrew Johnson said the allegations against Jones and the Mayor are absurd.
“The City of Walthourville contracts with the Liberty County Board of Elections under the authority contained within § 21-2-45,” Johnson said in a written statement to the Courier. “As such, the allegations as to Ms. Jones and her lack of appropriate credentials are simply unfounded. As the Clerk of the City of Walthourville, Ms. Jones’s only credentialing requirement is that she take a course through the Georgia Secretary of State’s office every elections cycle on Qualifying Candidates. Ms. Jones last took the course in September of this year, and she scored 100% on the test afterwards. The City of Walthourville is satisfied that Melissa Jones is handling her duties legally, appropriately, and competently. “
However, in the filed documents to the court, the plaintiffs said that according to state law (O.C.G.A. 21-2-101(a)) Jones should have completed the certification program within six months of Jones’ appointment to office. Jones was hired back in 2016 according to the city’s web-site.
The two women filed their original petitions June 25. Their petitions were dismissed in August after the city filed their response. Jones identifying herself as the election superintendent, concluded that the petitions failed to meet legal requirements and proper signature quantities.
The plaintiffs are looking to recall the two elected officials due to alleged unethical conduct, misconduct in office and misappropriated public property and funds.
Stewart said he would take 14 days to review the state law in the matter and then render a decision.