School board election in March, appointment remains unclear
by Mark Andrews
Jan 12, 2013 | 2434 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The newly elected Bartow County School Board Post 3 member will fill the seat next to member John Howard, who is listening to a speaker during a recent training session. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
The newly elected Bartow County School Board Post 3 member will fill the seat next to member John Howard, who is listening to a speaker during a recent training session. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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The Bartow County Board of Elections on Friday voted to approve Tuesday, March 19, as the date for the Bartow County Board of Education Post 3 special election.

Qualifying will begin at the Bartow County Board of Elections and Registration, Courthouse Annex, 105 N. Bartow Street, Cartersville, at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 30, to noon on Friday, Feb. 1. Qualifying fees are $35 and any person qualifying to fill the office is required to be a resident of Post 3.

The special election will be held at the Zena Drive, Beaver’s Drive and Cassville polling places. Advance voting will be conducted at the courthouse annex from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each business day beginning Feb. 25 and ending March 15. Advance voting also will be held at the Cartersville Civic Center, 435 W. Main Street, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from March 11 to March 15.

The last day for Post 3 constituents to register to vote in this election is Feb. 19.

Former board member Matt Shultz announced last week he would run for the seat, which has remained vacant since Thursday, Jan. 2, when board member Angie Cornett resigned from her post.

In December 2011, board member Larry Parker resigned from his Post 5 seat and the board appointed Anna Sullivan, resulting in community members Paul Nally and Gail Englehardt filing a writ of quo warranto accusing Sullivan of illegally obtaining the seat. The two cited HB 623 in regard to a special election being called for a vacant board seat.

Superior Court Judge David Smith during a June 2012 hearing said he will issue a written order that the court make an inquiry to the specific allegation made that it is unlawful for Sullivan to maintain her appointed seat over Post 5.

A special election was held July 31, to coincide with the primary election, during which Sullivan won the election against Greg Bowen. The court has not publicly released its findings on whether Nally and Englehardt were correct in their accusation that Sullivan first illegally obtained the seat by appointment.

No inquiry by the court had been made public nearing the two weeks prior to the special election and Sullivan’s counsel, Todd Hatcher, was on leave approximately 10 days before the special election, returning July 27. Nally and Englehardt filed a criminal complaint the week of July 22, stating Sullivan’s counsel has “... willfully and intentionally abandoned his legal and ethical duty to fully represent his client.”

The criminal complaint further argues Smith “... has neglected and refused to comply with the clear mandate of law to issue his order relative to the 10-day period and/or issue his order deciding the matter based solely upon questions of the law.”

Calls this week and the week of Dec. 30 to Smith’s office regarding the status of the court’s inquiry into Sullivan’s appointment have not been returned.