March 24, 2014

Letter: Fossett withdraws from school board race

Brian Fossett, who qualified on March 7 as a candidate for the Whitfield County school board at-large seat, withdrew as a candidate with the Whitfield County Board of Elections on Friday, March 21.

Mr. Fossett decided to withdraw as he was informed on Wednesday, March 20, that a recent state law prohibits individuals whose spouses hold certain positions with the local Board of Education from qualifying as a candidate. Mr. Fossett’s wife is an assistant principal in the Whitfield County school system. Mr. Fossett was contacted by an individual employed by the local school system who advised him that there might be a state law that would prohibit him from qualifying and serving as a member of the Whitfield County school board.

On receiving this information Mr. Fossett contacted the Whitfield County Board of Elections and the chief registrar contacted the Georgia Secretary of State’s office who in turn advised the chief registrar that the Secretary of State’s office was not aware of the specific state statute that did not allow an immediate family member of an administrator employed by the local school system to qualify as a candidate.

Mr. Fossett wanted to make absolutely certain that there was no issue concerning his qualifying as a candidate and he contacted his attorney, J. Tracy Ward, to obtain a legal opinion. Mr. Ward researched the laws of the state of Georgia relating to qualifications of an individual to serve on the local school board and determined that based on the recent state statute in question that Mr. Fossett was ineligible to qualify as a candidate.

Mr. Fossett was made aware of the recent state law by Mr. Ward and Mr. Fossett wishes to express his regret that he could not serve his county as a candidate for the Whitfield County school board.

J. Tracy Ward, on behalf of Brian Fossett

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