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Ivery steps down from school board

More than a year after moving out of the district he was representing, a McDuffie County Board of Education member is no longer in office.

Nether Ivery informed School Superintendent Mark Petersen of his resignation last week - several weeks after McDuffie County Elections Superintendent Phyllis Wheeler contacted Mr. Ivery and Dr. Petersen about the residency discrepancy.

"When I came back into the (elections) office, there were a couple of notes here alluding to the fact that he no longer lived in his district," Ms. Wheeler said. "The previous elections people had sent him some correspondence that was returned with a new address on it."

Mr. Ivery had been representing District 4 on the BOE for the past six years. He was elected while living on the 300 block of Walnut Street, but according to records at the McDuffie County Planning and Zoning office, Mr. Ivery received the residential equivalent of a Certificate of Occupancy for a house on the 1500 block of Carl Drive in February of 2005.

Also, according to Ms. Wheeler, a letter sent to Mr. Ivery's Walnut Street address from the Elections office in April was returned with a message indicating that the forwarding time to his Carl Drive address had expired.

Ms. Wheeler said Mr. Ivery's Carl Drive home is located in District 7. She added that according to Georgia law, he was no longer a member of the board once he moved out of the district he was representing.

She also said any votes Mr. Ivery took part in since changing residences could be challenged. According to Dr. Petersen, that fact doesn't matter because - to his knowledge - the closest votes since that time have been 5-2. He said eliminating Mr. Ivery's vote would simply make those votes 4-2, not affecting the outcome.

Dr. Petersen added that the situation and Mr. Ivery's resignation was "unfortunate."

"Mr. Ivery was a good board member who focused on the boys and girls. So we certainly hate to see him go," Dr. Petersen said. "He had good service for six years, so we appreciate that service."

A special election will be held to fulfill Mr. Ivery's unexpired term. Ms. Wheeler said that election should take place in November even though she had not received an official response from Mr. Ivery or the BOE by Tuesday afternoon.

Dr. Petersen said the board may discuss appointing a temporary member to fill the gap between now and the special election at its June 7 planning meeting.

Mr. Ivery could not be reached for comment, and messages left for him at his home and business were not returned.

Meanwhile, Ms. Wheeler said she was unaware of any other local elected officials with residency issues.

Web posted on Thursday, June 1, 2006

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