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Im not ever going to give up
Mayor asks council to rethink as it hires legal representation
City Council hires attorney pic 1
James Grogan. - photo by File photo

During the first item of business on the Dawsonville City Council's agenda Monday night, council member Mike Sosebee asked his fellow members to consider reversing their decision to remove Mayor James Grogan from his position.

He attempted to amend the agenda to include a discussion item so that the action of the council to remove Grogan could be rescinded, stating it had been an expensive process for taxpayers.

His motion died for lack of a second.

Sosebee could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

Council member Caleb Phillips said Tuesday he doesn't intend to go back on his vote just because of the cost of the lawsuit.

"When somebody does something wrong, they need to be held accountable for it," Phillips said. "I don't see how you could just let somebody off the hook."

Sosebee's attempt came during the same meeting that the council voted unanimously to hire Snellville and Social Circle City Attorney Tony Powell to represent the council in the mayor's appeal case. Powell also serves as a member of the Lawrenceville city council.

The city's current legal counsel, Dana Miles, cannot represent the council in the case due to legal reasons.

Powell will be paid on a graduating scale not to exceed the amount currently paid to Miles, around $260 an hour.

Council member Angie Smith made a motion to hire Powell to represent the council, and her motion was seconded by Phillips.

Grogan interjected before the vote was taken, and said the city had probably spent in excess of $15,000 on attorney fees and would now be paying double the fees with two attorneys.

Smith said Tuesday that the city would in fact not be paying double, reiterating that Powell will be doing work that Miles would, but cannot do under the circumstances.

She declined to comment further due to the ongoing litigation, as did council member Jason Power.

Grogan also urged the council to reconsider his removal from office.

"I don't think that's what this council was elected for, nor is expected to do," Grogan said. "We're expected to do the city's business. And conduct business in an appropriate way and we've not been doing that now for at least six months. We have a tendency to want to table nearly every discussion that we have...the only decision they've made in the last six months as a council has been to try to remove me from office."

Grogan also said that the way to handle the dispute is not through litigation but through sitting down and talking about what he called the "real issues."

"There has to be a real issue in all of this and it can't be the petty things that was brought out in those six points in the letter that I got from the City Manager Bob Bolz," Grogan said, referring to the findings of attorney Abbott Hayes, who was hired by the council to investigate Grogan before his removal from office in May.

"The last thing I'm going to say, and this is a personal thing, that God has a purpose for my pain, He has a reason for my struggles, but He has a gift for my faithfulness," Grogan said. "And I'm not ever going to give up."

Hiring Powell is the next step in the legal process of Grogan's appeal, which he filed after the council voted 3-1, with Sosebee dissenting, to remove him from office after a hearing May 15.

During the hearing, attorney Hayes, hired by the council to investigate Grogan's actions, stated that Grogan had authorized the reduction of the amount that property owners paid to annex property into the city, reduced water rates for a state representative and purchased alcohol and gas with a city credit card, among others.

Grogan will continue to act as Mayor during this portion of the appellate proceedings until a decision as to his continued service can be obtained from the Dawson County Superior Court.