An unnamed individual has alleged that Roger Maier, seeking a second four-year term to the Post 2 board seat, does not live at the home he claims as his voting residence. Maier is being challenged by Davis Nelson in the July 20 Republican primary; no Democrats qualified to seek the seat.
"On June 29, an individual approached us attempting to challenge Roger Maier's qualifications to be on this year's ballot for school board post 2," said Elections Supervisor Joseph Kirk, adding that while the time frame for a citizen to challenge a candidate's qualifications is two weeks after the qualifying period, the individual who came forward "did present evidence to us that [Maier] needed to be challenged, in his opinion," which led to Kirk's calling of the special meeting Tuesday to allow board members to determine if a hearing needed to be held.
Following Kirk's presentation of evidence presented by the individual and an anonymous mailing, board members unanimously voted to hold a hearing concerning Maier's residency qualifications. Officials set the hearing for Monday at 10 a.m. at the Frank Moore Administration Building, 135 West Cherokee Ave., Cartersville, in the commissioner's conference room; the meeting time also will serve as the regularly scheduled meeting of the board, originally scheduled for 3 p.m. that day.
Kirk said evidence presented by the individual and an anonymous mailing alleges that while Maier claims 1005 Old Alabama Road, Cartersville, as his voting address -- a residence in Post 2 -- he actually lives at 1615 Old Alabama Road, Taylorsville, which is listed on his personal financial disclosure statement as his farm. The latter address would place him in adjacent Post 4.
Georgia Code 20-2-51 says that "No person shall be eligible for election as a member of a local board of education who is not a resident of the school district in which that person seeks election and of the election district which such person seeks to represent. ... Whenever a member of a local board of education moves that person's domicile from the district which that person represents, such person shall cease to be a member of such local board of education, and a vacancy shall occur."
"They're false. Absolutely false," Maier said of the allegations following Tuesday's meeting. "I'm in the process of moving residence, but my new residence is in the district. I verified it with the Elections Office before I moved. To me, somebody's playing politics with our kids' lives."
The evidence includes, Kirk said, pictures of the residence at 1005 Old Alabama Road showing that no one resides there, and Facebook photos of family moments at the farm at 1615 Old Alabama Road.
Current information from the Bartow County Assessors' Office shows that Maier is an owner of both properties, but the parcel at 1615 Old Alabama Road is also owned by his wife, Robyn K. Maier.
"Like many folks, Mr. Maier owns more than one property -- one property's in the district, the other property's not in the district, and the other property is the family farm," said Maier's representing attorney, John T. Mroczko. "It's not where he lives, but it is the farm the family owns, and people are trying to say that he lives there when he does not live there.
"We are 100 percent confident that once the Election Board hears the evidence, they will affirm that Mr. Maier lives in the school district," Mroczko added. "He lives clearly inside the district, he owns a home inside the district and is right now in the process of moving from one location to another location, which is still in the district."
Maier's residency was questioned earlier in his school board term. The Daily Tribune News in December 2008 received two calls from individuals calling into question Maier's place of residence, while Kirk told The Daily Tribune in January 2009 that he had been contacted about a school board member possibly living outside their district. He said then that he investigated the matter and found no irregularities in the board members' listed residences.
"According to Bartow County's Voter Registration and Property Tax Records, all members of the Bartow County School Board live within the district which they represent," Kirk said last year.
"It was questioned before, probably six months, a year ago. I presented the same evidence. I was cleared at that time," Maier said. "Obviously, somebody was not happy with that result and is trying to keep pushing the issue.
"We're just here to do what's right for the kids."