Governor Nathan deal suspended Dougherty County School Board (DCSB) member Velvet Riggins after she was indicted on two counts of theft by taking, one count of public record fraud, and one count of providing false information to obtain free school meals for a child. All of which are felonies.
If you're an elected official and you're accused of a felony, you can be removed from that office provided the offense is related to the office itself.
If Riggins is acquitted or convicted of lesser charges she will be permitted to rejoin the school board. However if she's found guilty on even one felony, she'll be permanently removed from her position. If that happens the school board will have to take immediate action and call a special election to elect a new board member
If she's permanently removed from her seat before the end of the year, the school board can appoint someone to temporarily fill the remainder of her term.
Albany resident Tami McCoy has started a petition to have BJ Fletcher fill in for Riggins if it should come to that.
For time being the school board will operate one member short, which DCSB member David Maschke says wont effect business, "It's not unlike other times when a member has to be absent for business reasons or that they're out of town. It would be best for the whole board to be there so that everybody is involved in all decisions but with the decision by the governor we have no choice but to proceed the best we can."
Riggins is currently running unopposed for reelection in the July 31st primary; as long as she isn't convicted before the 31st she will remain on the ballot.