In wake of corruption indictments, Kemp appoints 2 new Douglas County commissioners
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has appointed two new commissioners to the Douglas County Commission following the bid-rigging scandal that ensnared two of its members.
Kemp suspended Chairman Romona Jackson Jones and Commissioner Henry Mitchell after their indictment for allegations that they rigged a county contract bid for janitorial services for a campaign supporter.
Retired Sheriff Phil Miller will temporarily replace Chairman Jones and Navy veteran Ricky Dobbs replaces Commissioner Henry. Miller and Dobbs will remain in office until the criminal cases are resolved against Jones and Mitchell until the expiration of (their) term of office, or a special election can be held should there be a conviction.
Following their indictments, Kemp moved swiftly to suspend the two commissioners “from office immediately and without further action pending the final disposition of the case whichever occurs first.”
In his executive order, Kemp said the suspension comes after a review commission found the indictments “adversely affect the administration of the Office of the Douglas County Commission, and that the rights and interests of the public (were) adversely affected.”
Jones and Mitchell are among other county officials being charged with conspiracy in restraint of free and open competition in transactions. Tax Commissioner Greg Baker, former Purchasing Director Bill Peacock, and Anthony Knight, the owner of S & A Express were also indicted. Jones is facing an additional charge of making false statements.
The February indictment says between May and June 2018, the Douglas County Board of Commissioners was accepting bids for a janitorial contract at an annex building. Prosecutors allege that Jones, Mitchell, Baker, and others had promised a contract to S & A Express. The indictment said Knight missed the window for submitting a bid and asked for a second window to accept bids. When he missed that one as well, they looked at all of the bids submitted and accepted Knight’s late submission that matched the lowest bid that was submitted on time and ultimately gave the contract to Knight.
Jones’ charge of making false statements comes from a June 2022 interview with the GBI in which she told agents that she had not signed a contract with the janitorial company before the contract went through the Board of Commissioners.
Jones’ attorney released a statement after the Governor removed her from office saying the commissioner was disappointed with the governor’s decision.
“Dr. Jackson Jones vehemently denies all the allegations currently pending against her and continues to strongly proclaim her innocence to these charges. The Chairman looks forward to the opportunity for vindication in a court of law once all the facts can be presented,” the statement said. “Dr. Jackson Jones will now shift her focus to working with her legal team in the preparation of her defense of these baseless charges.”
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