By Curt Yeomans
The first hurdle in removing Sandra Scott as a member of the Clayton County Board of Education has been crossed by members of The Concern Citizens of District 9.
The group needed -- based on state law -- the signatures of 100 residents Wednesday, in order to submit an application to begin circulating petitions for a recall election.
During the span of three hours, a canvassing party went door to door in Scott's district and collected 128 signatures, said Bob Hartley, president of the citizens group.
"The primary factor is, once again, the board is facing an investigation because of the way its members behave," Hartley said. He said the favorable response to the group's appeal is a sign that District 9 residents are tired of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) coming to Clayton County to investigate the school system.
Annie Bright, the director of the board of elections for Clayton County, confirmed her office is in the process of verifying the signatures collected, but could not comment further on the matter. Under state guidelines, Bright's office has five days to confirm the signatures.
The application will then go to a Clayton County judge, who will decide whether the application should be approved. If it is approved, Scott will have 10 days to file an appeal.
If the application is certified, the Concern Citizens of District 9 can then begin collecting the signatures of 30 percent of registered voters in the district --somewhere between 12,000 and 14,000 people.
"I'm pretty confident we can get those signatures," Hartley said. "We're planning to have 40 to 50 people canvassing the neighborhoods for a weekend, if not two weekends."
Hartley also hopes the recall effort will be a wake-up call to all elected officials in Clayton County. He said his group represents a wide spectrum of residents, from various ethnic backgrounds and age groups, who are unhappy with the way elected officials are conducting business in Clayton.
"We want to put all officials on notice that all of the citizens are going to hold them accountable for their actions," Hartley said. "You can no longer get in there [elected office] and have public displays of disagreements.
"If you're going to argue, do it in executive section. Don't do it when everyone is watching. Be nice to each other in public, even if you have to fake it."
Scott was elected in 2006. She declined to comment on the recall effort.