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Boyum says he'll remain on council till year end, at least
Phil Boyum
District 1 Councilman Phil Boyum

Councilman Phil Boyum from District 1 attended Tuesday's 9 a.m. Statesboro City Council meeting remotely, by Zoom teleconferencing, actively participated and didn't say a word in public about the status of his previously announced resignation from the council.

But it was the last meeting that his resignation, if offered immediately, could have occurred in time for the council to call a special election to fill the remaining two years of his unexpired term and have it occur along with the Nov. 7 regular council election in District 2. 

So the Statesboro Herald phoned and texted Boyum after Tuesday's meeting. Texting in reply, he said he now intends to remain on the council until the end of 2023, "at a minimum."

"I'm focused on the current business of the city, such as adequately staffing the SPD (Statesboro Police Department) and negotiating utility extensions to ensure Statesboro captures its share of the coming growth," Boyum wrote. "That's the important work."

He has served 11 years on the council, and his current term lasts through 2025.

Boyum had announced, during a council meeting Aug. 15, that he intended to resign effective Dec. 31, and made a motion, which was approved 5-0 by the council members, to call a special District 1 election for Nov. 7. Holding a special election on the same day with the regular election, and especially since Districts 1 and 2 share the same Election Day voting place, would save the city money and staff members time, he asserted.

However, City Clerk Leah Harden and City Attorney Cain Smith subsequently determined that the city could not legally hold a special election for a seat that was not yet vacant. Smith said the previous vote to call the special election for Nov. 7 while Boyum intended to remain in office until Dec. 31 was "a legally impossible action and automatically moot."

Boyum then said, in late August, that he might consider resigning by the first meeting in October to meet a 29-day minimum notice requirement for the call of a special election. 

But at the two most recent meetings he pushed for a restoration, with changes, of the Blight Tax Ordinance he championed several years ago and took part in discussion of police staffing and crime concerns.

If he resigned at the end of the year or later, a special election next year would have to be held on a date when no regular city elections are scheduled. In Georgia, 2024 is a county, state and federal election year, and municipal elections are normally held in odd-numbered years.

One District 1 resident was expressing interest Tuesday in running for the potentially vacant seat, but there is no vacancy at this time.

Only District 2 is having a council election Nov. 7, with voters in that district to choose between incumbent member Paulette Chavers and challenger Lawton Sack. Tuesday, Oct. 10, is the last day for voters not already registered to do so.

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