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Councilman named to fill vacancy
3 Councilman Phillips mug

The city of Dawsonville has appointed a new city councilman to replace a seat vacated earlier this month.

Caleb Phillips, 27, was appointed unanimously by the city council during its Monday night special called meeting.

The appointment follows the Nov. 4 resignation of Chris Gaines, who relinquished his post after the council denied his annexation request on a parcel of property outside the city limits.

Phillips will continue to serve on the city's planning commission until he is sworn in during the city council's Dec. 1 meeting.

By law, the city can appoint a replacement for up to 180 days if the resignation falls between elections, according to city attorney Dana Miles.

The last time the city appointed a council member to fill a vacant seat was in 2012, when Phillips and Councilwoman Angie Smith were appointed to fill the spots left open by now-Mayor James Grogan and former councilman Calvin Byrd following the race to replace the seat vacated by the death of the late Mayor Joe Lane Cox.

Eight city residents put their names into the proverbial hat to be chosen for the position, but according to Mayor James Grogan, only one could be selected.

"These eight people are all good people and worthy of the position, but unfortunately we can only choose one," he said.

Along with Phillips, planning commission members Pam Bragg and B.J. Farley, former city councilmen Calvin Byrd and Frank Craft, Judy Cox, wife of the late Mayor Cox, local business owner Caroline Christie and Dawson County DFCS board member Edwin Looper all were in consideration for the position.

The motion to appoint Phillips was made by Smith.

"I worked with Caleb here two years ago when we took over and it was very much the same situation," she said. "After he left the council, he never quit looking for ways to be involved, whether it was with planning and zoning or any event in the city. In the two years I have been here, Caleb has been here and that goes a long way for me to see how he has made an impact."

"I'm just excited to get the chance to be able to serve again," said Phillips. "I look forward to it and hope to run for the elected spot in March."

Qualifying for the special election will be held from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Feb. 10- 12 at the Dawson County Board of Elections central office on Academy Avenue.

The election will be held on March 17.