WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WJBF) — At just two years shy of finishing out his term, City of Waynesboro Mayor, Greg Carswell says he stepping away from his duties. Vice mayor James “Chick” Jones will take over for now.
“It is with deep regret and mixed emotions that I come to you today mentioning that I’m going to be taking a leave of absence”
Those words coming from Mayor Greg Carswell just minutes into Monday night’s city council meeting. That announcement came as a shock to Waynesboro city council members, many of them not knowing about the mayor’s plans.
“My feelings was, I felt kind of dismay, sorry for him, and confused, but I understand that we all have a job to do,” said Vice Mayor James “Chick” Jones.
The mayor’s announcement comes on the heels of some personal issues, including the death of his brother, Brian Carswell, his son’s current health condition, and an ongoing legal battle.
“We had some legal issues, the death of his brother kind of weighing on him heavy and his son going to have a major surgery, so those things kind of kept him distracted and he felt like in the best interest of the city, he would take a leave of absence so he could focus on his personal issues,” says Vice Mayor Jones.
That legal battle started back in June of 2020, when Carswell was arrested in Bulloch County after voluntarily turning himself in, and is now facing felony charges of theft by deception and identity theft.
After the arrest, Mayor Carswell issued a statement saying he was innocent, however, a Bulloch County grand jury issued an indictment in late 2020.
While the mayor takes his leave of absence, Vice Mayor James “Chick” Jones will step in.
“The City of Waynesboro will continue to do what it needs to do for its citizenship, the leadership will do what it needs to do for the leadership and citizenship and things will continue to run as they have always ran,” said Vice Mayor Jones.
Vice Mayor Jones says he doesn’t plan on making any major changes during the mayor’s leave.
He said, “He [Mayor Greg Carswell] set us in the right direction and we will continue to go in that direction in a positive manner”
Right now there’s no word yet on when Mayor Carswell will return to his duties, or if he plans to run for a second term
We reached out to Mayor Carswell for a statement, but he has not responded. NewsChannel 6 will continue to follow this story as we learn more about the mayor’s leave of absence.