Local News


Search to replace Brooks narrows

By MICHAEL HALL The Brunswick News

The list of potential replacements for suspended Brunswick City Commissioner James Brooks has been narrowed from nine to five by Gov. Nathan Deal, but it will be at least another month before a replacement is named.

The five finalists were named this week after the first round of phone interviews with applicants June 18.

Making the list are former Glynn County NAACP President Bernie Fulton; Walden University Program Director Lulu Williamson; banker and former Brunswick Mayor Brad Brown; Glynn County Property Appraiser Emmitt Nolan; and local minister Felicia Harris.

Deal will conduct the next round of interviews July 22, meaning it will likely be August before a replacement for Brooks assumes the temporary South Ward seat on the city commission.

Brooks was removed from his seat on the commission by the governor April 30 following his March indictment on charges in Camden County of influence peddling. Prosecutors allege that he used his position to receive money in exchange for attempting to get people jobs and permits in Brunswick.

By the time a replacement is named, the commission will have gone three months with just four commissioners, opening the door for split votes.

Mayor Bryan Thompson is not concerned about the absence of a fifth commissioner.

"To date it has not created any problems," Thompson said. "We all have our opinions, but we are also able to work through those."

So far, there has been only one instance, a vote about where to place on a meeting agenda a discussion about a building acquired from the Glynn County Board of Education in a land swap deal, that resulted in a 2-2 vote.

Thompson said he has faith in the governor's process and trusts that he will make the right decision.

He is happy to know the choice is not being rushed.

"It is by no means being taken lightly (by the governor)," Thompson said.

The four applicants eliminated by the governor were Susan Bates, Sandy Dean, Newton D. St. John and Christa McDowell Davis.

Brooks, whose four-year term is up at the end of this year, has said he plans to qualify for reelection in August.

* Reporter Michael Hall writes about public safety, environment and other local topics. Contact him at mhall@thebrunswicknews.com, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 320.