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Residency issue plagues Ludowici Council
Council member resigns seat
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Ludowici City Council member Debbie Bolick resigned Monday amid allegations she was illegally in office.
On Tuesday, the Long County Election Board scheduled a hearing to decide  whether Bolick had been legally representing the Ludowici’s 4th district.
At the hearing, LCEB Chairman Price Chapman said the board first approached the Ludowici City Council in October 2009 about Bolick’s residency issue, citing claims had been made that she was living in the county, not the city. Chapman said, at that time, Bolick produced electricity and water bills in her name, bearing the address of a city residence.
However, the chairman said, the Ludowici Registrar’s Office also recently challenged Bolick’s residency. Apparently, a financial institution requested information on the same city address, at which time it was discovered Bolick no longer owned the home. It’s now owned by James and Nicole Jones, and according to Chapman, the sale went through Nov. 3, 2009.
The chairman said Bolick submitted her letter of resignation Monday, but according to elections board Deputy Registrar Jimmy Durrence, her city council term officially ended when she transferred ownership of her Ludowici residence. At the hearing, Durrence cited paragraph five, from section A of the Code of Georgia.
LCEB Vice Chairwoman Vanessa Cunningham said that since Bolick technically hasn’t been on the council since November,  the board needs to consider her compensation for the past five months. Chapman questioned whether votes cast by Bolick since November were valid.
After a brief discussion, the board approved a motion to provide its information on Bolick to the city of Ludowici and leave the decisions regarding the former councilwoman’s pay and votes to city officials.
After reviewing the council’s meeting minutes from November through February, Ludowici Mayor Myrtice Warren said Bolick’s votes will not be an issue. According to the mayor, a quorum of the council was present on all issues Bolick voted on and the outcome of each vote would have been the same, even if Bolick had not been present. Warren said the lone exception was when the council approved a Christmas holiday for city employees.
The mayor said, “Right now, we are getting in touch with the Secretary of State’s office to see exactly what we need to do, and what we can and can’t do. We’re going to do what’s right, that’s for sure.”
Bolick said she disagrees with the election board’s opinion. She said she was a Ludowici resident until March 14.
“I lived on McDonald Street until March 14. We have a second home in the county where my daddy lives, and I moved out there to take care of him due to him having bad health,” Bolick said. “I was still in the city and still on the council through March. I resigned on the 15th, and wish everyone the best. I’ve enjoyed my time on the council, and I feel we did some good things while I was on.”
According to Chapman, a special election will be held to elect a representative for Ludowici’s 4th district.
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