DAWSON, GA (WALB) - Citizens in Dawson learn their mayor is removed from office, but some tell us they still plan to vote for the embattled mayor as he seeks a third term.
The governor's office alerted Dawson's City Attorney yesterday that a Tribunal voted unanimously to remove Mayor Christopher Wright. Wright was indicted in June on child sex charges, stemming from allegations made under oath during another trial that Wright had sex with a pre-teen girl.
Now with Wright is suspended, the business of the city continues as normal, although the citizens there will have a chance to put Wright back in office when early voting starts Monday.
A picture of Mayor Christopher Wright still hangs on the wall inside City Hall. As news of Wright's removal from office spreads across the small city,
City Manager Barney Parnacott says the role of the Mayor is much more political than administrative in Dawson. "The mayor is mainly here as specified in the charter to hold and conduct all the meetings and sign all contracts as approved by the council," Parnacott said.
And the city council met Thursday evening, shortly after getting notice Wright was out, passing the gavel to Mayor Pro Tem Calvin Stephens.
"Now, I suppose you could get into an instance where they tied up, they needed that vote, that would be a bit of a problem, but they have had that before. All cities sometimes don't make a decision about things," said Attorney Tommy Coleman.
But now the big decision is with Dawson's voters as they return to the polls Monday to choose their next Mayor. Wright, seeking a third term, or long-time former mayor Robert Albritten, who declined comment today.
If Wright is re-elected, a second Tribunal won't be called, and his political future will then be in the hands of a Terrell County jury.
If convicted of child sex charges, Wright will be permanently removed from office.
But first Wright has to convince voters. "I'm voting for Chris because we had 22 years to do what you had to do, and ain't nothing did," said Dawson Resident Donna Clyde. "Chris. I'm voting for Chris. And I don't care who knows. Let the world know, I am voting for Chris," said Clyde.
Wright's criminal trial is expected to happen in March. Early voting starts Monday in Dawson, and across Georgia.