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Monday, February 12, 2024

Bowman Council and Mayor hold another Friday Night Smackdown

Mark Berryman


The City of Bowman held another contentious called meeting on Friday at 6 p.m. to discuss formal complaints and an injunction. To be sure the meeting did not get out of hand, no less than four Elbert County Sheriff's Office personnel were present, including Sheriff Melvin Andrews.

The agenda did not stipulate what the formal charges were or what the injunction entailed. The meeting was requested by council members Leah Carey, Betty Jo Maxwell and Mary Clark.


Mayor Scott Harpold began by asking Councilwoman Leah Carey to speak on the formal complaints. Carey said she really didn’t know what to say about it because Harpold had said he would take care of those.


Harpold then asked City Attorney Douglas Kidd to speak first concerning the injunction item on the agenda.


According to Kidd, the injunction was related to the current litigation taking place between the city, Art and Jenny Lane, and Aubrey Lunsford. Kidd suggested the item be discussed in executive session but did say that was not a requirement.


At this point Councilwoman Betty Jo Maxwell made a motion to dismiss the current injunction against Lunsford and Carey seconded the motion. The mayor told her it was not an appropriate motion but Kidd said council could do so but that his legal opinion was that council should not follow through with the motion at that time.


Maxwell then repeated her motion to dismiss the injunction.


Harpold then addressed the injunction. According to Harpold, a judge had ordered Lunsford to stop building the chicken houses. Harpold said council agreed to the order and a judge signed that order.


Harpold said the city sent a letter to Lunsford but he continues to construct the poultry houses and an injunction was filed to stop Lunsford’s work on the poultry houses.


Kidd then said Superior Court Judge Chris Phelps signed a temporary order barring Lunsford from continuing construction and a hearing is set for later this month on the matter.


Harpold then attempted to take the matter into executive session but Maxwell said she would not do so.


Mark Carey attempted to speak and was warned by the mayor not to speak. Carey was issued a second warning later in the meeting and told he would be removed from the meeting if there were any more interruptions.


A debate ensued as to whether the matter should be discussed in open session or closed session and an attempt by Harpold to go into executive session failed.


Councilman Jeff Spratlin then told Carey and Maxwell the problem began when they voted for the poultry houses and that by repealing the injunction they would create even more problems. Spratlin then asked them to be patient and let the legal system work through the issue.


The mayor then called for a vote.


Henrietta Williams said the matter was already in the court and voted “no” on the motion. Spratlin voted “no” as well. Councilwoman Mary Clark said she could not reverse her earlier vote and voted “no.” Both Carey and Maxwell voted in favor of the motion, which failed by a 3-2 vote.


Jim Thomason then spoke, saying he had lived in Bowman his whole life with the exception of a stint in the Marine Corp. “When you’re elected, you’re elected to represent the people, regardless of the office you’re elected to, your district, your state, whatever. All city council members were elected were elected to represent the citizens of Bowman, not your opinion. Your opinion, it does matter to you but if the whole city of Bowman wants one thing and you don’t like it, it’s not your position to go against them. You’re supposed to go with the people.” Thomason said he did not see that happening now.


Harpold then called for a vote to go into executive session as the agenda called for but no motion was made.


Maxwell then complained about how she was being treated by Harpold, and was told she was out of order.


The meeting was then adjourned.


The meeting can be viewed in its entirety on our Facebook page for 30 days from the day it was streamed.

Elbert County Board of Commissioners to meet today at 5:15 p.m./5:30 p.m. – The Elbert County Board of Commissioners will meet at the County Complex on Forest Avenue today at 5:15 for a public hearing on rezone requests and at 5:30 p.m. for their regularly scheduled meeting.

  • Rezone requests include:
  • A request by Jonathan Jarvis to rezone from R1 (Single Family Residential) to A(Agricultural). In addition, 5.50-acres of parcel 006 080 rezone from (A) Agricultural to RR (Rural Residential) and 1.70-acres rezone from A(Agricultural) to R1(Single Family Residential). Planning and Zoning recommended approval by a 5-0 vote.
  • A request by Jonathan Evans to rezone property located at 1203 Jones Ferry Road from Mixed Use to I (Industrial). Planning and Zoning recommended approval by a 5-0 vote.
  • A request by Wes Adams to rezone 3.58-acres located on Cleveland Drive from A (Agricultural) to R-1 (Single Family Residential). Planning and Zoning recommended approval by a 5-0 vote.
  • A request by Huong Nguyen for a variance to encroach setback requirements of the county right-of-way located at 2123 Corinth Church Rd., Bowman. Planning and Zoning recommended denial by a 3-2 vote.
  • Discussion and consideration of the Statewide Mutual Aid and Assistance Agreement. This agreement will be valid until March 1, 2028.
  • Discussion and consideration of the reappointment of Pamela Jo Phelps to the Board of Elections. Her term will expire on June 30, 2024.
  • Discussion and consideration of the 2024 contract for Kevin McFarlin, Juvenile Court Attorney.
  • Discussion and consideration of a request by Alysia Poon of Elbert Partners for Health, for the funding of a grant writer for up to $6,000 for the Drug-Free Community Grant.
  • Discussion and consideration of how to sell the property that the county now owns on 129 South McIntosh Street.
  • Everette Worley with Total Insurance to address the board to discuss a Medical Reimbursement Plan

Blackwell Learning Center to hold Pre-K registration March 6-7 - Paul J. Blackwell Learning Center will hold registration for the 2023-24 school year on March 6-7, 2024 from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. daily.


In order to enroll, a child must turn 4-years-old before Sept. 1, 2024.


The parent or guardian must provide the child’s birth certificate, the child’s Social Security card, the child’s current Georgia shot record, the child’s Medicaid/private insurance card, a physical form and 3300 for the child, and a dental form and 3300 for the child.


The parent or guardian must also provide a SNAP eligibility letter, SSI documentation, TANIF eligibility documentation and/or WIC documentation if applicable.


Two proofs of residency, such as a current utility bill, lease or mortgage agreement, property tax notice, vehicle registration form, homeowners/renters insurance bill, or driver’s license must also be provided.


Proof of income and any custody or guardianship papers are also required.


For more information, call Kayla Hudson at 706-213-4414.

Today's Community Calendar

Monday, February 12

  • Blue Devil baseball @ Habersham (DH), 4:30 p.m.
  • EC BOC-called meeting, 5:10 p.m., County Complex
  • EC BOC-regular meeting, 5:30 p.m., County Complex

Tuesday, February 13

  • KECB monthly meeting, 5:30 p.m., KECB office
  • Blue Devil basketball Region play-in game

Wednesday, February 14

  • EC Public Library Board of Trustees, 3:30 p.m., Elbert County Library
  • Blue Devil baseball vs Washington Wilkes, 5:30 p.m. Diamond Devil Field
  • Blue Devil soccer vs Franklin County, 5:30 p.m./7:30 p.m., ECCHS

Thursday, February 15

  • Blue Devil wrestling @ A State Traditional, 8 a.m.
  • Blue Devil tennis @ Barrow A&S, 4 p.m., Winder

Friday, February 16

  • Blue Devil wrestling @ A State Traditional, 8 a.m.
  • Blue Devil baseball vs Stephens County, 5:30 p.m., Diamond Devil Field
  • Argylle movie, 7 p.m., Elbert Theatre, $7.50

Saturday, February 17

  • Blue Devil wrestling @ A State Traditional, 8 a.m.
  • Blue Devil golf (g) @ Lady Packer Inv, Sunset Country Club, Moultrie
  • Argylle movie, 7 p.m., Elbert Theatre, $7.50

Sunday, February 18

  • Argylle movie, 2 p.m., Elbert Theatre, $7.50

Send Community Calendar event notices to or call 706-283-1400


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