city hall

Nearly 90 Blackshear residents ranging in age from 19 to 94, and including former mayors Tom Davis and Dick Larson, have signed a petition calling for the resignation, removal from office or a recall election for city council members Shawn Godwin, Linda Gail Dennison and Timmy Sapp.

Blackshear resident Mat Boatright presented the petition to city council members, providing each of them with a copy, at the city’s work session Monday night. Sapp was absent.

“I bring before you a petition for the resignation, removal from office or the recall election of Blackshear council members Timmy Sapp, Shawn Godwin and Linda Gail Dennison,” Boatright said. “Through the actions you have displayed at the previous meetings and on social media, we, the public, believe you have put our city at risk through acts of incompetence, misfeasance and malfeasance in office and can no longer trust that your performance benefits our city.”

Boatright then asked for Godwin, Dennison and Sapp to resign.

“If you will not (resign), I implore all of our officials to collaborate on issues, discuss it with one another, and determine an outcome that is best for our city,” Boatright concluded.

Council members were quiet at the work session, issuing no statement or rebuttal to Boatright. His presentation was the last item of business.

The Times gave Dennison and Godwin a few hours to review the petition and then contacted them for a comment.

Godwin did not confirm if he’d reviewed the petition, telling The Times he “had no comment” and “didn’t want to talk about it.”

Dennison did not return The Times’  phone calls.

In addition to a copy of the signed petition, Boatright provided council members with a copy of the transcript from the council’s February meeting with notations of actions or comments he deems qualify as misfeasance and/or malfeasance.

“I have noted the areas I see as malfeasance and misfeasance,” Boatright said as he passed out copies.

Boatright argues Sapp, Godwin and Dennison put the city at risk of a lawsuit and committed misfeasance by not voting to hire Jenny Grant as city clerk when she was the only approved and interviewed applicant left to hire. (The council later reversed that decision and voted unanimously to hire Grant).

Boatright further claims Godwin’s failure to disclose his interview evaluation of Grant to Police Chief Chris Wright who was tasked with compiling the evaluations constitutes misfeasance and “failure for any other cause to perform the duties of office as required by this charter or by state law.”

According to Boatright, Sapp, Godwin and Dennison’s votes against Grant’s hire also qualify as incompetence and misfeasance because Grant was recommended by the interview committee and the council “should have voted based on committee recommendation.”

Lastly, Boatright provided the council with a copy of Shawn Godwin’s recent Facebook post regarding Chief Wright. (Council member’s social media activity was called into question by local residents at last month’s meeting.)

“We have a Police Chief that is politically motived to destroy anyone in his path ... Our Police Chief  has a lot of control issues and will attempt to destroy anyone that stops his reign,” Godwin’s post reads. “I‘ll pray he will do what’s right for this City and step down.”

Godwin made the post after an investigation into false statements reportedly made by Godwin and his wife during the investigation of a potential child abduction attempt was been turned over to District Attorney George Barnhill last month.