Ealum recall group says they are confident of success
November 30, 2006
Leesburg -- A Lee County group says they feel confident they will be able to recall a County Commissioner. They say the response to application for recall has been strong.
The group is asking that 23 year old Jo Ealum be recalled as Commissioner of the Leesburg District. They say because she is a student at the University of Georgia she can not fulfill her duties as a County Commissioner. But Ealum says this a personal attack, because of a lawsuit she filed against two Lee County Deputies for violating her rights.
Lewis Harris signs the application for recall against Lee County Commissioner Jo Ealum. So far the group pushing for the recall effort had at least 42 signatures Thursday afternoon, of the 100 they need for the recall petition.
Bill Mitchell is the coordinator of the recall effort, who says Ealum being in school in Athens prevents her from being accessible. Mitchell said "from my understanding of the constituency, as many times as they try to reach her, and they are unable to do so. So that has been a problem that many of them face. And the other fact that she is suing the county. "
Ealum was arrested in 2004 for underage drinking at her home. Those charges were dismissed in Lee Superior Court. Last month Ealum filed a federal lawsuit against the two Deputies who arrested her. Craig Mathis is the lawyer for one of those Deputies, and has the recall forms in his office for people to sign. Mathis said " I admire her getting an education. But a county commissioner needs to be available to their constituents. And an answering machine is just not availability."
Ealum said in a statement that " If people ask for me, I am available. I feel like these are personal attacks by Craig Mathis because of my lawsuit. "
If the group gets enough signatures to start the recall petition, they would need to get 729 voters, 30 percent of the district, to sign it. If they received those, a recall election would be called.
Mitchell says he is confident people want Ealum out of office. Mitchell said "within a day or two we expect to have the one hundred signatures."
Jo Ealum was unavailable for an on camera interview for this story before deadline, but was eager to talk with us at Thursday night's Commission meeting.