During last week's board of education business session, a community member referenced a local bill from the 2003 legislative session pertaining to vacancies on the board. He questioned if the January appointment was valid due to the time of the resignation, and subsequent appointment, taking place within months of a presidential primary.
"There are also two other pieces to the puzzle that I looked at, one of them is code section 20-2-54.1. The other is the provision that's referenced House Bill 623 ... which has to do with the conduct of special elections and I can't comment for the elections board in terms of what they're going to do or not going to do, but I would anticipate that there would be a special election held in July, which is the first available date beyond the vacancy," Pettit said.
Bartow County Elections Supervisor Joseph Kirk confirmed Pettit's outlook on the appointment and election process.
"[Parker's] resignation started a process that is ongoing at this time," Kirk said. "According to the local act defined by the school board, the elections superintendent of the county has 120 days to call a special election to fill that vacancy. If that vacancy occurs within 180 days of a scheduled primary election will be held in conjunction with that [vacant seat] election. If it is with conjunction with a statewide election, we have to call [the election] within 90 days prior to the election date. That knocked out March. Now moving forward [the board of elections] plan on calling the election in two weeks at our next regularly scheduled meeting to hold the election in conjunction with the July 31 primary."