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Board of Education recall efforts placed on hold

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Bob Hartley, the chairman of the Concerned Citizens Coalition, had planned to pick up recall petitions to remove Clayton County Board of Education member Sandra Scott on Monday, but his action was postponed over the weekend after the organization's leaders met to review the plan.

The coalition's chairman said now, no date is set to pick up the recall petitions from the Clayton County Board of Elections office. Once the petitions are picked up, the coalition would have 45 days to get all of the signatures required, or the effort will die.

"There are just a few little details to take care of, in terms of who is going to do what," Hartley said. "We have a lot of volunteers who will be collecting signatures, and the challenge is to make sure we have enough leaders in place to oversee all of the volunteers."

Organization is an issue facing both efforts to recall board members. While the Concerned Citizens Coalition is working to remove Scott from office, another group of volunteers is working to gather enough signatures to recall board Chairperson Michelle Strong, who represents District 1 on the school board.

In Scott's district, there are 90 people who have signed up to help the coalition collect signatures of 8,000 registered voters from the northeast section of the county. Under state law, the signatures of 30 percent, or 5,600, of the people who were registered to vote in the last election for the seat are needed to move forward with the effort.

Hartley said his organization is seeking a significantly higher number of signatures because the coalition's leaders do not want to see the recall push "die out like many of the other recall efforts."

"We have to make sure, when we pick the thing up, that we have organization in place to make sure it's successful," Hartley said. "How successful we are depends on how dedicated and focused our volunteers are. We want to make sure they go to neighborhoods that are actually in the district, get only the signatures of registered voters, and don't get the signatures of people who have already signed the petition."

The District 1 recall petitions also have not been picked up from the Board of Elections office. Charlton Bivins, chairman of the Concerned Citizens of Clayton County, said he helped the organizer of the District 1 recall effort find volunteers in the southern part of the county, but the effort has seemingly fallen apart.

He said the organizer had apparently gotten a new job and decided not to continue with the recall effort.