It’s safe to say Dawsonville has never had a mayoral election like this one.
Current Mayor Mike Eason will face former Mayor James Grogan at the ballot box on Tuesday when the special election voting day commences.
Each is seeking to fill the unexpired term of Grogan, who was officially removed from office in October.
The elected mayor will be sworn in on April 9, and their term will expire Dec. 31, 2019.
Eason, 67, was appointed mayor in December by unanimous vote of the city council.
A resident of Gold Creek since 2012, he retired from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in 2002 after three decades working as a special agent. He served as the Cumming Police Department chief for four years, leaving in January of 2009.
Eason said that no matter who the residents of Dawsonville vote for, he wants them to participate in the election.
“I want everyone to take this opportunity to vote and make an informed decision,” Eason said. “Everyone has an obligation to go out and vote and this election will determine how the city is going to be run.”
Grogan, 75, is seeking to finish a term that he started on Jan. 1, 2016 that was unceremoniously cut short by a vote of city council last year.
If elected during the March 20 special election, Grogan would be working with two city council members who voted for his removal in May of 2016, Caleb Phillips and Jason Power. One of the council members who voted to remove him, Angie Smith, and another who did not, Mike Sosebee, were defeated in the November election by newcomers Mark French and Stephen Tolson, who took office Jan. 1.
Grogan served on the city council from 2010 to 2012, and was appointed acting mayor in April 2012 after the death of Joe Lane Cox. He won the July 31, 2012 special election and was re-elected in 2015 for a four-year term.
He was removed from office after a city-council initiated investigation into allegations that he had misused city funds and violated the city charter. Grogan appealed the decision to the Superior Court but his appeal was denied.
Grogan, frustrated by the city council’s actions and a recent ruling from the Superior Court that states he must repay the city a portion of his salary and benefits from 2017, issued a statement on Monday.
“This mayor is not a quitter,” he said. “When the going gets tough, the tough get going. My strength is in the Lord. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. This election is critical for our city. Vote for James Grogan for mayor.”
Voting will be held at the Dawson County Board of Elections office located at 96 Academy Avenue in Dawsonville from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. March 20.
Advance voting ends at 5 p.m. March 16.
As of 2:30 p.m. March 13, 135 people had cast their votes in the election. The city currently has 1,920 active registered voters.