top of page

Mayor of Hull and the conspiracy to dissolve the city's charter

By Paul Walton

The Conspiracy to dissolve Hull`s charter. There have been some

interesting things that`s been happening in Madison County

regarding the city of Hull. The plan to eliminate Hull`s Local

Option Sales Tax (LOST) funding. A city is required to provide at

least three services out of six. The city of Hull has in the past

provided fire protection, water, and police protection. Each was

through an Intergovernmental Agreement. The city was requested to

provide a contract with the Madison County Sheriff Department to

receive it`s LOST funding. The city of Hull has not had a current

contract with the MCS department since 2012, before my tenure as

mayor. The last contract was for $0 dollars to provide police

protection. All of a sudden, I was told by the Board of

Commissioners County attorney that in order to have a contract with

the MCS, we have to ask for a specific service which would cost

around $150.000 annually knowing that the city of Hull could not

afford that. Therefore; that lacked the city to receive LOST funding.

I`ll never forget the chairman of the BOC stating in the MCJ that the

mayor may want to pump the breaks on building that new city hall,

but I`ll come back to that later. So, to provide that third service I

acquired a location for a Hull public library. So, what was the next

move. Put the Hull mayor in a position so he cannot direct and

perform his duties. In November 2022, I was served by the Madison

County Sheriff a retraining order. That I shall not perform any of

my mayoral duties and a court date wasn`t set until over a month

and half later for me to appear in court. This retraining order was

supposedly because of when I qualified to run for Congress in

March 2022. Remember, this order was signed approximately 9

months later. Like all of a sudden, a light bulb went off. Well, a

light bulb did go off when I terminated the city of Hull`s former

clerk in September 2022. Part of that restraining order has in it that

the mayor shall not do any hiring or firing, change the city charter or

do any annexation. Now, when I saw that, I asked myself among

other things regarding this, why would a judge mention annexation.

But first of all; why would a judge even sign such thing and then

wouldn’t set a date to appear in court until over two months out.

The other interesting thing is that when the sheriff gave me this

order, he asked for my keys to the city without me ever being in or

attending court. I felt this was highly unusual. I informed him that I

did not have the city keys with me and he replied and I quote, “well

when you come to court bring the keys with you”. Right then I

knew it was and is a conspiracy to dissolve the city of Hull. Let`s

talk annexation. The city of Hull had plans to annex the

unincorporated part of Hull which was discussed at my very first

town hall meeting in 2019. Doing that would have made Hull the

largest city in Madison County under my leadership. It would have

grown tremendously by population, LOST funding, excise taxes,

occupational taxes, two banks, several gas stations and businesses,

the largest supermarket (Ingles), land for sale etc. Now, going back

to this restraining order. The bases of this were because of when I

ran for Congress my mayor seat became vacant supposedly. In

Article 2, § 2, 15 of the Constitution of the State of Georgia, entitled

"Vacancies created by elected officials qualifying for other office"


The office of any state, county, or municipal elected official shall be declared

vacant upon such elected official qualifying, in a general primary or general

election, or special primary or special election, for another state, county, or

municipal elective office or qualifying for the House of Representatives or the

Senate of the United States if the term of the office for which such official is

qualifying for begins more than 30 days prior to the expiration of such official's

present term of office. The vacancy created in any such office shall be filled as

provided by this Constitution or any general or local law. This provision shall not

apply to any elected official seeking or holding more than one elective office when

the holding of such offices simultaneously is specifically authorized by law.

(Emphasis added) The term for the 2023 10th Congressional District of the United

States House of Representatives for which I qualified, began on January 3, 2022.

My term ended on December 31, 2021 resulting from an election that was to have

taken place in November of 2021. Consequently, the mayor was not in violation of

Article 2, § 2, ¶5 of the Constitution of the State of Georgia and there was not a

vacancy created by his qualifying for the general primary. 

These Facts were presented in court with a copy of the original ad that ran in the

MCJ newspaper stating that my term ended in December 2021. The judge ignored

these facts. The two Hull city councilmembers, John Barber and Mike McElroy

hired Colbert city attorney to bring this case. They did not have any facts at all to

debunk our records and instead tried to use an old charter the was repealed when

the Governor signed a new Hull charter in May 2021. The old charter stated that

anyone whose term ends in December 2022 shall end in 2023. Keep in mind my

term ended in December 2021. They then resorted to a Sons of Confederate Sons

of Confederate Veterans v. Newton County Bd of Comm’r case which states

citizens have a right to remove officers from service. So does the city of Hull and

it`s called a charter that was signed by the governor stating the proper procedures

removing a public officer from office along with a city ordinance, both of which

was ignored by the two councilmembers who swore to uphold it and the judge who

is suppose to be fair and impartial. Each city in the state of Georgia is governed by

it`s charter and not a judicial court. It`s called Home Rule for those who may not

know. Two councilmembers have known authority to make any decisions

regarding city business outside of an open city council meeting with the proper

number of a quorum to conduct business which is three to four councilmembers,

none less. Four councilmembers my conduct city business without a mayor, none

less than that. The city of Hull only has two. To act without a quorum is in

violation of what`s called Georgia`s Sunshine Law. I`ll let the Georgia Attorney

General deal with that. How did Hull end up with only two councilmembers when

it previously had four. The first resigned due to the disrespect she received while

attempting to hold a council meeting without my presence from the other

councilmembers. So resigned because of it and I don`t blame her. The second

Hull councilmember would have the public believe that he resigned out of protest

of me terminating the former city clerk. I terminated her September 16, 2022. He

could have resigned immediately but stayed as a councilmember and had another

meeting in October 2022. During this meeting, I was out of town during a two-day

training session with the Georgia Municipal Association in Hiwassee. I asked the

mayor pro tem to facilitate the meeting while I listen on the phone. I also asked

then councilmember Brian Keopnick to record the meeting with my personal

recorder and do not erase anything from beginning to end of the meeting in case

there may be any additions or corrections of the meeting. During this meeting the

former city clerk showed up knowing I would be out of town and approached the

council with paperwork stating supposedly the real reason of why she was

terminated. The city of Hull has a Rule of Decorum Policy which the councilmen

failed to uphold outside of my presence. The two councilmembers John Barber

and Brian Keopnick went on a tantrum against me and threatened to have me

removed from office. When I got back into town, I asked then Brian Keopnick

could I pick up my recorder and if he had transcribed everything that was said at

the meeting. He said he would have it ready on Monday. I pick it up from him

and listened to the meeting. After listening I noticed he erased only the tantrum

and the voice of the former city clerk asking her claims to be put in the minutes as

if she was a councilmember of some sort when in fact, she is not even a citizen of

Hull. It was totally unacceptable for any councilmember to behave in this matter.

After then listening to the meeting and realizing these portions were erased, I

contacted former councilmen Koepnick and inquired about this missing recording

of the meeting and he said he forgot that I told him to not erase anything. I said to

him and I quote “you have been a councilman over 9 years and you know better,

I`ll take this up with the proper authorities in the morning. Approximately 30

minutes later he sent me a letter of resignation via email. He did not want the

public to know how they behaved in that meeting. I have a copy of the text

messages if anyone wants to question my trustfulness in this matter. Better than

that, I searched around the State of Georgia to find a company that could retrieve

this recording and finally found GC Computers in the Georgia Square Mall after

months of searching. They have recovered the files and I have the recordings. By

the way, let`s talk about the role of a councilmember. Councilmembers are

empowered to make policy decisions and to approve ordinances, resolutions, and

other local legislation to govern the health, welfare, comfort, and safety of the

city's residents. Not once have either of these two councilmembers ever put on my

desk an ordinance, resolution, local legislation or policy for the health, welfare,

comfort, and safety of the city residents. Councilmember John Barber was a no

call no show for so many meetings. I had to have an attendance policy drawn up

because of his actions. I have no allegiance to any councilmember, employee, only

to the United States Constitution, The Georgia State Constitution, my oaths that I

swore to and the City of Hull citizens. These councilmembers caused the city of

Hull to go into a perilous status not caring for it`s citizens or the oath they swore.

They showed their allegiance to a terminated employee. I understand, no one likes

to be terminated, these councilmembers had a right to discuss there concerns but it

is a way to do that as I was trying to explain to them. You do not discuss

personnel matters in an open meeting, that is to be discussed in what`s called an

Executive Session and I tried to explain that to them that at the next meeting we

could have that discussion, but there was just no civil reasoning with them and it

could have possibly brought about a different outcome. My final reason for the

termination of the Hull city clerk was her refusal/excuse for not taking the Georgia

State Mandated course which I asked and encouraged several times during my

tenure as mayor. Her response was always since she didn`t work full time, she

wasn’t required. I believed her until I found out later that that is not correct.

Under Georgia State law, anyone holding the title of clerk shall take the mandated

class and the only people who are exempt are clerks holding dual roles as clerks

and city managers.

State Mandated Training, State law (O.C.G.A. § 36-1-24 and § 36-45-20) requires

anyone holding the title of clerk or performing the duties of a municipal clerk or

county clerk pursuant to the local charter, ordinance, or code shall attend and

complete a course of training on matters pertaining to the basic performance of his

or her official duties. Mandated training is offered at Georgia Clerks Education

Institute programs, and the 15-hour mandated training course counts toward the

101 hours required for certification as a Georgia Certified Clerk. (a) For purposes

of this article, the term "clerk of the governing authority of a municipality" means

any individual holding the office of city clerk pursuant to a municipal charter and

who is normally employed in that capacity for 40 hours per week. (b) Any person

hired or appointed to serve as the clerk of the governing authority of a municipality

shall attend and complete a course of training on matters pertaining to the basic

performance of his or her official duties. A city official who is an acting city clerk

or who carries the dual responsibilities of both city manager and city clerk is

exempt from such training. Example “My water jug has the capacity to hold a

gallon although I only keep it filled half way”. I had several previous reasons to

terminate the former clerk of Hull for example, when the clerk was paying a

former landscaper monthly without having proof of insurance to do work in the

city and no landscaping was done for over 5 months until I started asking where is

the landscaper. I personally had to track him down. He had no insurance and

claimed his equipment was stolen and that`s because he had not been cutting the

city grass. But the clerk was still paying him monthly and he is a friend of her son

who are both firefighters. I had to terminate that landscaper. The city clerk wrote

a city auditor a $2000.00 check for our city audit that the city never received. She

gave over all city hardcopy documents; but the auditor never performed the audit.

I had to personally drive from Hull to the auditor’s office in Winder several times

to retrieve city documents and finally had to hire our new city attorney to draft

letters to the auditor requesting the return of city documents or perform an audit to

keep the city of Hull in compliance which cost the city more money for the

attorney to prepare that request. The former city clerk purposely gave false

information during a city meeting which caused the city council to vote on my

wife, who is also a city employee who graciously took on the role to do the city

newsletter and build and maintain the city website to save the city money of

someone else charging the city extensively, to pay back a meal when we were at

government training in Savannah. The meal was less than $50.00 and was in the

mayor`s spending budget. When I brought up the fact that I had also paid for the

several councilmembers spouses and the clerks spouse meals at the mayor`s

conference in Atlanta, the clerk injected and I quote “the reason why you were able

to pay for that is because there was a vote”. Immediately after the meeting, I

checked previous meeting minutes and there was no vote. I brought this fact to her

attention and the clerk apologized to the Hull council via email but twice purposely

hid this blunder by not putting it in the minutes. Once in the summary of minutes

and then again in the final minutes. The clerk is a clerk, not a councilmember and

that comment should have never been blurted out during a meeting. This is against

the law and is a violation of the open meeting open records act to keep information

from the public that actually happens in a city meeting. I`ve purchased finger food

for guest like sandwiches, chips, tea, lemonade and all councilmembers and city

clerk gladly ate along with certain guest like the Northeastern Georgia

Commission, Georgia Municipal Association and etc. At the end of each year, I

would purchase gifts for each councilmember and clerk from the mayor’s budget

like pens, mugs and they all accepted and never said a thing. I was warned and

cautioned by two former mayors’ that the city clerk was going to give me problems

and be a challenge to work with. But I chose to give her chances. Most new

mayors get rid of old administration and start fresh at the beginning of their term.

So let me be clear, the former city clerk has been working for the city a long time

and was good at a lot of things she was able to do. I totally appreciated her

experience and even created a clerk`s week for her where she did not have to

attend to any city business for a week which was paid and asked the council to

treat her and her spouse to a dinner during that week of not more than $60. I

created one week a year for her known as “Clerk`s Week” each four years of my


Let`s talk about the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The ARPA bill was

signed into law on March 11, 2021. In order to received this funding from the

United States government, cities and counties must go through a tremendous

amount of paperwork and be in compliance with the state and federal government

agencies. The city of Hull has no city manager, I was that, no CFO, I was that. I

consistently performed outside of my role of mayor because we are such a small

city where we couldn’t afford to have those particular department heads, so I took

on those roles. This included, many pages of compliance documents, webinars,

meetings with members of the Department of Treasury, traveling throughout

Georgia for ARPA meetings to learn about the bill and how the funds were to be

allocated and it`s usage for local government. The rules were stricter in the

beginning of issuance of the funds and later became more less strict for more uses

of local government operations and it`s citizens. Through my labor of love for the

city of Hull and my constituents, business owners including Angie’s on Hwy 72

and faith organizations and first responders, I was able to secure approxetmely

$75,000. I contacted both faith organizations in Hull, Hull Baptist and Heaven

Bound Ministries to see if they needed assistance and provided assistance to

Heaven Bounds Ministries, the Golden Pantry now Chevron gas station to increase

the pay for its employee’s loss of pay because of covid-19, $11,000 the Hull

Volunteer Fire Department, and over $4,000 to the Madison County Sherriff

Department for refurbished tasers. Also created an application for the citizens of

Hull to apply for assistance on a first come first serve basis until funds would be

exhausted. As mayor of Hull and being very involved in training of local

government so that I can learn and perform my job effectively and efficiently, it

caused me to travel across the state of Georgia tremendously to conferences,

meetings with other local and state officials. Hull city limits is a quarter mile

circle. I`ve traveled as far Rome to Lagrange, Atlanta to Savannah for my city

throughout my four years as mayor consistently. I could not get a single

councilmember to go anywhere and/or take government training and report back to

the city. It was always myself or myself and the first lady of Hull. Since the city

of Hull does not have a city vehicle for travel, I used my personal vehicle for city

business to save the city money instead of renting a car each time I travel outside

the city limits which is only a quarter mile circle. If I were to rent a car each time I

traveled outside of the city limits for city business, the taxpayers would have been

paying thousands of dollars for car rental and insurance cost for the mayor. So,

after all of that wear and tear on my personal vehicle, I started to have brake issues

coming back from training out of Savannah from the annual government

conference. Because it was brakes and I deemed it an emergency, I had my breaks

repaired with ARPA funding which was allowable. This matter was brought to a

council meeting of what I had to do as an emergency and the council approved the

expenditure unanimously. I also looked after Hull councilmembers and the city

clerk by providing ARPA funds to them also. I got with the city attorney to see if

it was a way for them to receive premium pay which was allowed by the final rule

of uses. Each councilmember and the city clerk who wanted to receive ARPA

funds needed to write a reason why they thought they should receive funds. All of

them could have said no thank you, but each of them did write a reason to receive

funds and held out their hands. Each councilmember received $1,500 and the city

clerk $3,500. These people love to throw rocks and then hide their hands. Those

councilmembers John Barber, Mike McElroy and certain Madison County elected

officials, and people who do not live in Hull including Mr. Dale Perry has devasted

the Well city of Hull by unlawfully filing suit to remove me from office and

stopping funding to the city. Because of this, the city of Hull lost it`s local option

sales tax funding. The city has no code enforcement, zoning and is not in

compliance with certain state and federal compliance agencies like the Department

of Community Affairs etc. The cities credit rating has dropped. There has not

been a city meeting for the public since October 2022. The city does not have nor

established an operating budget for 2023. The city does not and will not have the

proper paperwork to pass an upcoming audit to provide to the state of Georgia

Uniform Audit of Accounts. The beautification project along Hwy 72 is again

filled with weeds and all of the plaques of Hull settlers that I commissioned to be

raised out of the ground for the public to acknowledge is again buried with weeds

and dirt. These elected officials are having fun at their fecal festival while the

citizens of Hull suffer. Allow me to quote Roman`s Chapter 3 verses 13-18. “Their

throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of

asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are

swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace

have they not known; there is no fear of God before their eyes”. The city of Hull

had a bright future being the next city to Athens in Madison County. It had

enormous potential for the health and welfare of it`s citizen that I envisioned. I

was able to build alliances with the mayor`s of Winterville and Athens to bring to

the city of Hull a walking and biking trail that would connect from Winterville

through Athens to Hull and back into Athens. Bringing citizens and visitors

outdoors for a safe place to walk and children to ride their bikes in a safe place

other than just the streets. As mayor I was able to secure almost a million dollars

in federal funding for a new city hall. Not only was it just a city hall, but it would

have also severed as a multipurpose building much like the new Jackson Emc

building. It was designed to have community events and a with a storm safe room

and was innovative for business for the next forty years. With the expansion of the

city and grants like the Community Development Block Grant and private donors,

this would have been easily paid for without ever charging city taxes on its

citizens. The city had opportunity to bring sewer for the citizens working with

Athens and Madison County. I had plans on the table to clean up the blight in the

community on such places like Davis Street using the CHIP funding grant. The

city of Hull would have been able to qualify and receive funding for replacement

or repair of all septic tanks for its residents as I was currently working on.

Annexation of the unincorporated parts of Hull would have made the city of Hull

the largest city out of the six cities in the county. Ten other businesses that the city

of Hull would have had in its city would have provided occupational and excise tax

revenue and the citizens there would have had government representation unlike

they do now. It would have included revenue from the largest grocery market

(Ingles) in the county, two banks, three gas stations, a school, CVS Pharmacy, the

Department of Veterans Affairs, Jackson EMC and other opportunities, this would

have brought in more revenue and property to the city perhaps this is why the

judge put in his retraining order to not do any annexation. With what these

councilmen and others conspirators allowed to happen; all of the city of Hull assets

will go to the county. What a conspiracy, what a shame. In my closing let me say.

Being a servant for the citizens of Hull have been one of the most gratifying times

in my life. My experience of seeing the smiling faces of people, the children; the

elderly always brought joy to my heart. Being able to help residents and people in

general during the covid-19 crisis while working with the Boy Scouts of America.

Distributing over 10,000lbs of food for people in need. Offering school supplies to

needy families from all over Madison County. Being able to visit each elementary

and middle school reading and speaking to the youth taking questions and sharing

my role as mayor in Madison County during Black History Month. All of the

beautiful letters and emails and phone calls that I have received from the citizens

of Hull and from people around the state over the years. For the previous Hull city

council to approve the city of Hull`s first city flag that I personally designed for the

city along with the new city welcome sign on Glenn Carrie Rd. I thank Governor

Brian Kemp for recognizing my work and flying our state city flag at the Capital in

my honor in which he sent to me a plaque that it was flown in my honor. Senator

Raphael Warnock for acknowledging all of the hard work and efforts I took to

secure funding for a new city hall in Hull in a letter which he sent to me. The

outstanding artist Mr. Brodrick Flanigan for bringing his masterpiece of artistry to

the Well city of Hull that I commissioned showing all of the cultures that reflect

the community and the citizens of Hull. All of the Hull business owners who

supported the city of Hull events. All of the hard-working elected officials that go

above and beyond for their constituents throughout the state of Georgia that I have

met in my travels of all walks of life. Much thanks to former councilmembers

Yvonne Davenport and Donna Sherrer-Gantt who actually performed their role

professionally at all times. The Zeta Phi Beta Sorority inc. of Athens. I must say

the one besides God I must thank the most is my wife, Marilyn; the First Lady of

Hull that helped keep me inspired and has always stood next to me and never

wavered during my tenure as mayor and her service as city councilmember. So no,

I`m not bitter or angry and I will be honored to have this opportunity again along

with all of it`s challenges because if you are a sincere servant, you will realize the

gratification of helping others is what the world needs more of. But yes; justice

must be done. According to the Hull City Charter which the Governor signed, I

am still the mayor of Hull by choice until a new mayor is qualified and duly


Hon. Paul Walton


City of Hull

1,548 views8 comments


Hello Everyone,

My name is Donna Sherrer-Gantt and I would like to clear up the aforementioned statement stating that I resigned from my post as City Councilwoman/Mayor Tem because I was disrespected by the Council. This is an inaccurate statement and I would appreciate having that statement removed. This is not the place to air the City of Hull business. I am no longer a City Councilwoman nor Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Hull and have not been involved in any council business since resigning. I pride myself on having integrity and in no way would disrespect the city that I live in. Please reframe from using my name in future correspondence and without my permission.



Replying to

Thank you! My point is well-taken as I scribed above. I resigned in July, 2022. These issues apparently occurred after my tenure. I was not disrespected as Mayor Pro Tem.


Donna Sherrer-Gantt


Nevermind the $9000.00 he spent adding the mural on the side of the store on 72 that doesn't even belong to Hull. I'm sure there's lots of "kookie" stuff that taxpayers don't know about. AND, to my knowledge, there's never been a Hull police dept. (Police Protection)


Do what?


Paul Bunce
Paul Bunce
Apr 19, 2023

Sounds like your commissioners have taken lessons form ACC commissioners. Never mind the law, just do whatever you fell like and let the people you have done wrong try to sort it out in court.


Wj Smith
Wj Smith
Apr 19, 2023

Little bit verbose for morning coffee reading. When I read much, I am taken back to an saying, 'throw enough BS at the barn, some of it will stick' .

I see a lot of stuff getting tossed, but cannot figure out at whom and why.

bottom of page