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2010 Georgia Code
O.C.G.A. 45-5-6 (2010)
TITLE 45 - PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES
CHAPTER 5 - VACATION OF OFFICE
§ 45-5-6 - Public official investigated by special commission upon indictment; gubernatorial review if commission recommends suspension; suspension; reinstatement; replacement officer
45-5-6. Public official investigated by special commission upon indictment; gubernatorial review if commission recommends suspension; suspension; reinstatement; replacement officer
(a) As used in this Code section, the term "public official" means any elected county officer; any elected member of a county governing authority; any elected member of a city-county consolidated government; any member of a county, area, or independent board of education; any school superintendent of a county, area, or independent school system; any solicitor-general of a state court; any elected member of any municipal governing authority; any member of the Public Service Commission; and any district attorney.
(b) Upon indictment for a felony by a grand jury of this state or by the United States, which felony indictment relates to the performance or activities of the office of any public official, the Attorney General or district attorney shall transmit a certified copy of the indictment to the Governor who shall, subject to subsection (e) of this Code section, appoint a review commission. Except as provided in this subsection, the commission shall be composed of the Attorney General and two public officials who hold the same office as the individual indicted. The members of the commission shall receive no compensation for their services but shall be reimbursed for any expenses incurred in connection with the investigation. The funds necessary to conduct the investigation shall come from funds appropriated to the executive branch of government. If the Attorney General brings the indictment against the public official, the Attorney General shall not serve on the commission. In place of the Attorney General, the Governor shall appoint a retired Supreme Court Justice or a retired Court of Appeals Judge.
(c) Unless a longer period of time is granted by the Governor, the commission shall make a written report to the Governor within 14 days. If the commission determines that the indictment relates to and adversely affects the administration of the office of the indicted public official and that the rights and interests of the public are adversely affected thereby, the commission shall recommend that the public official be suspended from office. If, and only if, the commission recommends suspension, then the Governor shall review the findings and recommendations of the commission and may suspend the public officer from office immediately and without further action pending the final disposition of the case or until the expiration of his term of office, whichever occurs first. During the term of office to which such officer was elected and in which the indictment occurred, if a nolle prosequi is entered, if the public official is acquitted, or if after conviction the conviction is later overturned as a result of any direct appeal or application for a writ of certiorari, the public official shall be immediately reinstated to the office from which he was suspended. While a public official is suspended under this Code section and until initial conviction by the trial court, the public official shall continue to receive the compensation from his office. After initial conviction by the trial court, the public official shall not be entitled to receive the compensation from his office. If the public official is reinstated to office, he shall be entitled to receive any compensation withheld under the provisions of this Code section.
(d)(1) For the duration of any suspension of any elected member of any municipal or consolidated city-county governing authority under this Code section, a replacement officer for the public officer suspended shall be appointed as provided for in any general law, local law, ordinance, or resolution governing the filling of a temporary vacancy in the public office affected. For the duration of any suspension of any other public official under this Code section, a replacement officer for the public official shall be appointed as provided for in any applicable general or local law governing the filling of a temporary vacancy in the public office affected. If no such general law, local law, ordinance, or resolution governing the filling of a temporary vacancy is applicable, then the Governor shall appoint a replacement officer for the public official suspended.
(2) Upon the final conviction, the office of the public official shall be vacated immediately without further action. Said vacancy shall be filled in the manner provided by law for filling vacancies in such office.
(e) No commission shall be appointed for a period of 14 days from the day the Governor receives the indictment. This period may be extended by the Governor. During this period of time, the indicted public official may, in writing, authorize the Governor to suspend him from office. Any such voluntary suspension shall be subject to the same conditions for review, reinstatement, or declaration of vacancy as are provided in this Code section for nonvoluntary suspensions.
(f) After any suspension under this Code section, the suspended public official may petition the Governor for a review. The Governor may reappoint the commission to review the suspension. The commission shall make a written report in 14 days. If the commission recommends that the public official be reinstated, he shall immediately be reinstated to office.
(g) The report and records of the commission and the fact that the public official has or has not been suspended shall not be admissible in evidence in any court for any purpose. The report and records of the commission shall not be open to the public.
(h) The provisions of this Code section shall not apply to any indictment handed down prior to January 1, 1985.
(i) If a public official who is suspended from office under the provisions of this Code section is not first tried at the next regular or special term following the indictment, the suspension shall be terminated and the public official shall be reinstated to office. The public official shall not be reinstated under this subsection if he is not so tried based on a continuance granted upon a motion made only by the defendant.
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