Another attempt to have Walthourville Mayor Daisy Pray and council woman Patricia Green recalled and have City Clerk Melissa Jones removed as the city’s top elections officer was denied Oct. 22 by Liberty County Superior Court Judge Jay Stewart.
Paulette Jamison, who wanted Jones removed from her position as Walthourville’s election superintendent of Walthourville, also sought to have the Secretary of State’s office look into the city’s handling of its elections.
Stewart denied the plaintiff’s request to force Jones to supply recall petitions, ruling that, “no such application was filed with the instant proceeding until Jan. 4, 2019, a full five months after the period of limitations would have applied,” according to the court order.
The court order said there is no authority for the judicial removal of a city clerk or elections superintendent without a specific grant of power from the state legislature, so the plaintiff’s request to have Jones removed was also denied.
“Plaintiff’s final claim for relief is that this court compel or request that the Georgia Secretary of State launch an investigation into the allegations raised within her complaint,” Stewart wrote in the order. “The Court does not have the authority to grant such a request and it is therefore denied.”
The long-standing feud between Jamison, who is running for the Post 3 council spot in Walthourville, started May 23, 2018. Jamison and co–plaintiff Anita Scurry first filed a Writ of Mandamus claiming Jones and Pray were blocking attempts to receive recall applications they requested. The city, through attorneys Jeff Arnold and Andrew Johnson, countered that the plaintiffs failed to request the documents in the proper manner.
On June 25, 2018, a judge granted a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s Writ of Mandamus, since both plaintiffs said they received the applications for recall.
Those recall applications were submitted to Jones by June 29, 2018, according to court documents, and an investigation by Jones followed in which she concluded the recall petitions failed to meet legal requirements.
The plaintiffs filed another motion to set aside the dismissal and reopen the case.
City attorneys filed a motion Aug. 9 to have the matter dismissed, which was granted.
On Nov. 6, 2018, the plaintiffs were once again back in court requesting a previous dismissal on their recall petitions case be set aside and the case be reopened. At the hearing the plaintiffs alleged 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.
On Nov. 28, 2018 the court ruled in favor of Pray, Green and Jones.
Johnson said the recent denial shows the plaintiff’s case had no legal merit.