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Tuesday May 24th, 2016 5:45PM

Lutz recall petition withdrawn; Lutz doesn't believe issue is dead

By Staff
GAINESVILLE - A petition seeking the recall of Hall County Commissioner Craig Lutz has been withdrawn but Lutz doesn't believe the campaign to have him removed from office is over.

Interim Hall County Elections Director Charlotte Sosebee said Kevin Kanieski made the request to have it withdrawn without prejudice Wednesday morning.

"I just had him to complete an affidavit saying he would like to have his recall petition withdrawn, and I'm still waiting to see how to proceed from this point," said Sosebee.

Kanieski had gathered 229 signatures of people seeking Lutz's recall, claiming the South Hall commissioner had violated the Open Meetings Act. Lutz had filed court papers challenging the petition.

Lutz says the learned that the application was being withdrawn in an email from Sosebee and said the move appears to be nothing more than a delaying tactic.

"It's nothing more than an attempt to delay the failure of the recall effort," he said. "We noticed in the original application for recall there was a lot, there were several irregularities and issues. It looks like the (petitioner) is looking for a second chance to get through those."

Kanieski's affidavit states it is his intention "by the signing and filing of this affidavit to withdraw the application for recall without prejudice." By doing to "without prejudice," Kanieski is not prohibited from re-filing the recall application at a later date.

Lutz says he and his attorney have decided to let a Gwinnett County judge go ahead and rule on the validity of the original recall document as filed. Those seeking his recall claim Lutz violated the state's Open Meetings Act. A Gwinnett judge was brought into the case after a Hall County Superior Court Judge recused himself from the matter.

The spectre of a recall has been hanging over Lutz almost since he took office in January and he says he ready to settle the matter.

"It's time for us to get to a solution, to get to the end of this process."

Lutz again denied claims by the recall proponents that he violated the state Open Meetings Law in the days leading up to the firings of several top county officials in January.

(Please check back for updates to this developing story.)
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