Randolph Co. school board member faces recall - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Randolph Co. school board member faces recall


By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

CUTHBERT, GA (WALB) – Controversy continues in Randolph County where a school board member is facing a possible recall.

A judge has approved an application to continue the recall process against Henry Cook.

A majority of school board members say Cook abused his power when he was the Board's Chairman. He refused to allow other board members to put items in meeting agendas and refused to acknowledge majority votes. The two factions even had separate board meetings for a while.

Cook is no longer chairman, but some voters want him kicked off the board altogether.

The next step in the recall is a petition that must be signed by 30% of the registered voters in Randolph county. If that is achieved, Cook's fate will be in the hands of voters at the next county election.

Randolph County is learning how long and complicated the process to recall a public official is in Georgia.

"It's a pretty rare occurrence," says Randolph County Attorney Tommy Coleman. "It's a pretty high standard to have the judge determine that it could go on."

But the Superior Court of Randolph County did just that Monday. A judge decided there is sufficient probable cause that former Board of Education Chairman Henry Cook abused his power while in office.

"Long ago, you could recall somebody just because you didn't like them."

That isn't the case anymore. Now that a judge has signed off on probable cause, the next step of the recall is the collection of 30% of District 5's registered voters' signatures.

"In a smaller community like that you usually know just about everybody in town," explains Coleman. "My guess is they'll go door to door and people set up in shopping center and stores and things like that."

Some concerned parents just want the controversy to be settled quickly.

"I believe in the school system, especially when it comes down to stuff like that. It should be straight and it should be truthful."

Herbert Cooper says the school board fiasco is keeping members from doing their job.

"It's all about the children and not positions. What's best for the children and their future. Cause they are the future."

Cooper says he will sign the petition if the allegations against Cook are true.

"I will. Cause I'm all about truth and I'm all about what's right. The truth is going to come out anyway's."

But even if Cook is recalled, it may not be the end for him.

"I recalled a mayor once and he ran in the election to replace himself and won," Coleman tells us.

But for now, it's just a waiting game as the signatures are collected.

The group who applied for the recall only has 45 days to collect 30% of the registered voters' signatures. For Randolph County, that is roughly 2300 signatures.

If they succeed in collecting the signatures, a special question will be added to the next county election ballot. Henry Cook's fate could be decided as early as July.

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