clear
Tuesday June 30th, 2015 8:48AM

Court upholds law used to remove board members

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) Georgia's Supreme Court has ruled that a law the governor used earlier this year to remove six members of the DeKalb County is constitutional.

The 47-page opinion released Monday states that Georgia's law does not violate the state Constitution.

``First, it is a fundamental principle of our constitutional tradition that no public officer - whether constitutional or only statutory - is above the law,'' the opinion states.

Gov. Nathan Deal earlier this year used a 2010 provision to remove six of the nine members of the DeKalb County school board. Former board chairman Eugene Walker filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block his suspension from office. The federal judge hearing the case declined to stop the governor from appointing new school board members but also asked the Georgia Supreme Court to clarify several key questions.

U.S. District Judge Richard Story asked the high court to determine whether the law Deal used to remove the school board members undercuts requirements in the state constitution that local education boards control school districts. He also asked the high court to rule on whether the General Assembly went beyond its powers to generally regulate school boards when it created the removal process.

``Throughout our history, the General Assembly has understood its legislative power to include the power to provide by general law for the removal of local constitutional officers for cause, notwithstanding that the Constitution did not explicitly and specifically confer such a power, and in some cases, even with respect to officers for whom the Constitution made other provision for their removal,'' according to the opinion published Monday.

The governor's action ``is not an unconstitutional infringement upon the governing authority of local school boards, nor is it a violation of any other constitutional provision or right,'' the court concluded.

DeKalb County is the state's third-largest school district, serving about 99,000 students. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools had placed the district on probation in December after a six-month investigation. The accreditation agency cited in a report long-term leadership issues including nepotism, fiscal mismanagement, inappropriate micromanagement and intimidation within the district.

Following the 2010 law, the state Board of Education recommended the removal of six of the nine members of the county school board. It took no action against board members who were elected after the conduct cited in the report. Deal, a Republican, subsequently removed the six board members from office and replaced them with appointees.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Ethics laws set to take effect Jan. 1 in Georgia
After dominating much of the legislative session, a set of major ethics reforms is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
7:04PM ( 1 year ago )
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
More overtime on the way? Obama proposes broader coverage
The Obama administration is proposing making up to 5 million more people eligible for overtime — its latest effort to boost pay for lower-income workers.
7:57AM ( 51 minutes ago )
Christie back at high school to announce 2016 run
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who spent three years as president of his high school class, is returning to his alma mater to announce he's running for president of his country.Th...
6:45AM ( 2 hours ago )
Minority leaders form "Black-Brown Alliance" to oppose at-large voting
More than 20 people, including leaders in the African-American and Latino communities, gathered in a conference room at the Newtown Florist Club in Gainesville to discuss the city's at-large voting system.
5:56PM ( 14 hours ago )
Price Road house destroyed in fire
Hall County Fire Services responded to the 5200 block of Price Road on the report of a barn fire Monday morning.
4:16PM ( 16 hours ago )
GSP searches for vehicle involved in hit-and-run that critically injured man
The Georgia State Patrol is asking for some help from the public as troopers search for a vehicle that struck a 64-year-old man on Clarks Bridge Road last Thursday.
2:34PM ( 18 hours ago )