AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp formed a panel to recommend whether or not to remove federally indicted Augusta-Richmond County Commissioner Sammie Sias from the district 4 seat. Opinions of Sias’ constituents range from lets wait and see, to he should resign.
Wednesday, Commissioner Sias pleaded not guilty to two federal indictments. He has until Monday at 5 p.m. to hand over 10 percent of his bond in cash. The deadline for an official recommendation from Gov. Kemp’s panel is also Monday.
Some Sandridge residents call Sias a pillar of the community, and say they are shocked an disappointed by the charges.
“This is something which me and my family find hard to believe,” Sandridge resident, Weldon Lake said.
“Disheartened. It was disheartening news,” Sandridge resident, Abigail Hicks said.
“Knowing what I know of Sammie Sias, that he has been a pillar of the community thus far, it’s very disappointing for anyone in your immediate community circle to hear this type of allegations,” Sandridge resident, Shanteal Lake said.
However, some residents tell NewsChannel 6 they were not surprised by the charges, and that they believe he should be removed from the Augusta-Richmond County Commission.
“Hopefully if he did do that, he would do the right thing and resign. Kind of put us out of our misery,” Antoine Williamson said.
In a statement to NewsChannel 6, Commissioner Jordan Johnson (District 1) said:
“Because the governor has appointed a panel, it is important to let them finish their process. It is not my place to comment, make any judgement, or suggest any action– but rather let the panel make their decision.”
And some Sandridge Community residents agree with Commissioner Johnson, saying they will let the panel make their call.
“Right now, I’m just going to leave it up to the justice system because of what I’ve known about Sammie. What I’ve seen and grown to know over the years,” Weldon Lake said.
“We have to hold ourselves to a certain high moral ground and we also have to hold the individuals who are responsible for our futures to the same high moral ground,” Shanteal Lake said.
And Shanteal Lake says considering innocent until proven guilty, she believes it would be premature to remove Sias from the commission at this time.
“It’s essentially convicting him in the public long before any justice has actually been handed down,” Lake said. “It’s very easy to say lets take him off, but essentially by doing that, we’re convicting him in the public eye.”
Some residents did not want to go on camera, but tell NewsChannel 6 it’s, “time for Sias to go.”
Count on us to keep you updated on the recommendation Monday.