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Phillips takes council seat
City swears in municipal judge
4 Swearing-in pic
City Attorney Dana Miles administers the oath of office for newly appointed Councilman Caleb Phillips, who took his seat on the Dawsonville City Council Monday. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Newly appointed council member Caleb Phillips took his seat on the Dawsonville City Council, following a brief swearing-in ceremony on Monday at city hall.

Phillips, 27, was appointed to temporarily fill the unexpired seat previously held by Chris Gaines, who resigned the position when he moved outside the Dawsonville city limits last month.

Gaines had made an attempt to have the home he purchased annexed into the city, but the measure failed to pass.

A special election will be held on March 17 to permanently fill the seat.

Phillips, who has said he would seek the position, previously served on the council as an appointed member.

He and current councilwoman Angie Smith were selected to fill seats left open by current-mayor James Grogan and former city councilman Calvin Byrd when they stepped down to run for mayor upon the death of Joe Lane Cox.

Also during Monday night's meeting the city of Dawsonville's new municipal judge was sworn in.

Ronald D. Reemsnyder, 65, of Big Canoe, replaces David Wallace, who is no longer practicing law and resigned his judgeship in September, according to City Attorney Dana Miles.

A professional arbitrator and attorney, Reemsnyder holds a bachelor's degree from Mount Union University and received his juris doctor from Duke University in 1974.

He has been a litigator for more than 40 years with a primary emphasis on commercial litigation, product liability and intellectual property disputes.

As municipal judge, Reemsnyder will preside over court cases involving violations of city ordinances.

"For example, if someone violated our nuisance ordinance related to maintaining a house or place of business, something in the yard that violated the nuisance ordinance, they'd be issued a citation by our code enforcement officers and given a court date," Miles said.

The city has two code enforcement officers: Nalita Copeland and Trampas Hansard. In recent months, both have earned certification through a one-year training course.

"We haven't had a need to convene city court in years, but I think that we anticipate that city court could be convened at any point and time now that we have code enforcement officers that are enforcing our ordinances and issuing citations," Miles said.