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Watkinsville Mayor Bob Smith Resigns Abruptly

Former Watkinsville Mayor Bob Smith.

The Oconee County Board of Elections and Registration on Monday postponed any decision on a special election in Watkinsville–necessitated by the abrupt resignation of Bob Smith as mayor—pending action taken by the Council on Thursday evening.

Elections Board Chair Rebecca Anglin said at the Monday meeting that although Smith resigned as mayor at the Mayor and Council meeting on Mar. 17, she has not yet been told which offices might need to be filled in a special election.

When Smith resigned at the Mar. 17 council meeting and left the room, Mayor Pro Tem Brian Brodrick became the acting mayor.

If the council votes formally to make Brodrick acting mayor on Thursday night, his Post 1 position will become vacant, according to City Manager Sharyn Dickerson.

In that case, the Board of Elections and Registration, which conducts elections for the city under an agreement between the two governmental entities, will call and conduct the election on June 15, the next date designated by the state for special elections.

Anglin told the Board it is her plan to hold early voting and voting on election day at City Hall if that election is held. Only residents of the city of Watkinsville–not all members of the county City Hall precinct–will be eligible to vote.

Under the terms of the intergovernmental agreement, she said, the city will be responsible for the estimated $14,000 cost of the special election.

At the Mar. 17 Mayor and Council meeting, after reading a resolution congratulating the North Oconee High School Swim Team, Smith said, “I have an announcement to make.”

Smith then read a two-page statement that repeated his oft-stated contention that the council had taken action in December of 2019 “stripping away the mayor’s responsibilities and giving them to an unelected city manager.”

“As I have seen in the last 14 months,” Smith’s statement read, “there is no need for the position of mayor.”

After he finished reading his statement, Smith walked from the podium, handed his statement to the city clerk and left the room.

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