WAYNESBORO, G.A. (WJBF) – Gregory Carswell was sentenced Tuesday in a Bulloch County, Georgia courtroom after pleading guilty to theft and identity fraud charges. Carswell received a suspended sentence of 150-190 days in prison. He also has to pay nearly 12-thousand dollars in restitution to his victims. If he does not pay at least 5-thousand dollars of that restitution, he will be imprisoned. He also has to serve 10-years probation.
Carswell has been suspended from his role as the town’s mayor for more than a year and the people who live there are wondering what’s next when it comes to leadership.
Mayor Carswell’s sentencing will allow city leaders to begin the process of finding Waynesboro’s next mayor.
“It’s unfortunate,” said acting Waynesboro Mayor, James “Chick” Jones.
Waynesboro Interim Mayor James Chick Jones is responding to suspended Mayor Greg Carswell’s guilty plea.
“I just have to keep him and his family in my prayers and give them support where ever I can,” said Jones.
The charges Carswell pleaded guilty to stem from his employment at a title pawn business in Statesboro.
“Well, he told me he was innocent and that it was character assassination and I have a real question to him about what his definition of character assassination is. I don’t know if he is still holding to that or not. He pleaded guilty so if he mislead me, I’d appreciate an apology,” said Dick Byne, Waynesboro City Councilmember.
Waynesboro City Council member Dick Bynes says Carswell is still on the city’s payroll, making over 800 dollars a month even though he was suspended in March 2021.
According to Georgia Code following the mayor’s conviction, he’ll have to officially vacate that seat, but the process to replace the mayor is still being worked out.
“I’m sure it’ll have to be a called election. That’s something that Valerie is working on right now. Can we do it fast enough to have one in May, which I doubt it. So, it’ll have to be in the fall. So, we may be without a mayor till the fall. I just don’t know,” said Byne.
Vice Mayor Jones has been filling the position during Carswell’s suspension. Byne says Jones would be a great fit if he decides to step into that role.
“I think Chick is doing a great job with that. I mean he’s getting out he can meet the people,” he said.
There’s still no word yet on when the process to replace the mayor will begin. We did reach out to Greg Carswell for comment and have not heard back yet.