Blue Ridge, Ga. – A crowd gathered on the steps of the Fannin County Courthouse to witness the swearing in of new Post One Commissioner Johnny Scearce.
Scearce, who is currently the City of Blue Ridge Chief of Police, won the seat of Post One Commissioner in the November 2020 General Election. Due to a long battle with Covid-19, however, Scearce had remained unable to fill the position.
Probate Judge Scott Kiker was present for the swearing in and spoke of his personal connection with Scearce.
“He’s helped renew my faith more than once in my life,” Kiker said of their friendship and added of Scearce’s recent illness, “His faith was demonstrated. His courage has been demonstrated through a trial that he didn’t anticipate.”
“Your fortitude. Your courage is an inspiration,” Kiker spoke directly to Scearce.
With his wife Brenda by his side, Scearce took the oath of office.
Scearce showed his good spirits by letting everyone know that by signing his name he was in fact using a pen and writing for the first time since his fight against Covid-19. He joked after signing that nothing had changed, he was still bad at it.
Scearce addressed the crowd stating, “I want to thank my lord and savior Jesus Christ.”
Next Scearce thanked his wife Brenda, “She was with me from day one and that pulled me through.”
Lastly, Scearce gave a heartfelt thank you to the community for their love and support, expressing the blessing he felt being surrounded by everyone’s love: “I’m so proud of my community. I’m going to do my best to help everybody I can and to help Fannin County.”
Feature Image : Fannin County Chairman Jamie Hensley, Post One Commissioner Johnny Scearce, Probate Judge Scott Kiker, Post Two Commissioner Glen Patterson
Blue Ridge, Ga – Blue Ridge Police Chief officially came home on Tuesday, February 3, 2021, after his release from the hospital in January 2021.
Scearce, who’s also the Post One-elect for Fannin County, spent 94 days in the CHI Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga, Tenn. battling COVID-19 and related health conditions, including a collapsed lung and MRSA. Before contract COVID-19, he didn’t have any pre-existing conditions. The hospital released a video of Scearce’s honor walk upon being discharged. Nurses and doctors lined the halls to cheer him on.
He began therapy after leaving the hospital after spending four months either in a wheelchair or hospital bed. His rehab discharge date was February 3.
People turned out along 515 to support Scearce’s ride home. He received a police escort. The Blue Ridge and Fannin County community have stayed vigilant with their prayers for the police chief’s health. Prayer vigils and fundraisers were held for Scearce’s wellbeing.
The neighborhood took to social media to share in the joy of Scearce returning home. Speaker of the Georgia House and Fannin Representative David Ralston even commented about the event.
“Many prayers were answered today when City of Blue Ridge Police Department Chief Johnny Scearce came home. Chief Scearce’s battle with complications from the Covid-19 virus has been long and challenging. Through it all, he has fought bravely — as we would have expected. Our City of Blue Ridge, Georgia community, has demonstrated again its goodness with an outpouring of prayers and support for Johnny, Brenda, and the entire family. Chief, we are all happy beyond words today. Welcome home!”
Scearce’s still on the road to recovery, but returning home will indeed prove to be a great motivation and healer for him. Those interested in helping the Scearce family cover medical expenses can donate to an established GoFundMe.
Blue Ridge, Ga. – After a long battle with Covid-19, Blue Ridge Chief of Police and recently elected Fannin County Post 1 Commissioner Johnny Scearce has been released from the hospital.
CHI Memorial Hospital released a video of Scearce being cheered on as he made his Honor Walk out of the hospital.
“Thank you all, God bless and what a great hospital and staff,” Scearce said as he made his way through a hall of staff cheering on his recovery.
Scearce had been in the hospital for 94 days according to CHI Memorial, but his battle with Covid-19 began in Sept. of 2020.
News of Scearce contracting the virus quickly spread via social media on Sept. 17 as his wife Brenda posted a personal post on Facebook asking for prayers for her husband.
At the time of the original post Scearce was in a regular room at Fannin Regional Hospital but struggling with maintaining healthy oxygen levels.
A prayer vigil was held outside the hospital for Scearce on Sept. 19 and Brenda posted a heartfelt thank you from both her and her husband.
During his stay at Fannin Regional Hospital, Scearce was sedated and put on a ventilator for several days, but was able to overcome this hurdle and made significant improvements. Scearce was released from Fannin Regional Hospital and returned home at the end of Sept.
While Scearce continued to make steady improvements at home, he was still experiencing low oxygen levels. News broke on Oct. 12 that he was being transferred via ambulance to CHI Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga.
The City of Blue Ridge along with Scearce’s brothers in blue gathered for a prayer vigil at the City Park on Oct. 13 and it was there that information was given as to the critical level of Scearce’s condition.
The community continued to rally behind their Chief of Police over the next several months with fundraisers and prayers.
The news of Scearce’s release from CHI Memorial is a major milestone that was celebrated by many via social media. Scearce still faces a long road of rehabilitation but the community remains confident that he will overcome any hurdles that he may face.
BLUE RIDGE, Ga: With Post One-elect Johnny Scearce continuing to recover from COVID-19-related illnesses, Fannin County Commissioners discussed the board’s options until he assumes responsibilities.
At this time, there’s not a set timeline for Scearce to take his oath of office and begin his commission term. However, the law is ambiguous about when the oath of office must be administered – in other words, there’s not a deadline.
The most recent legislation concerning election officials in Fannin occurred in 1987, “Fannin County – Compensation, etc. of Board of Commissioners No. 1117.” In the act, it stated, “Thereafter, their successors shall be elected at the general election immediately preceding the expiration of their terms of office and shall take office on the first day of January immediately following their election for terms of four years and until their successors are elected and qualified.”
“Qualified” refers to a commissioner-elect taking the oath of office and being bonded. According to County Attorney Lynn Doss, since Scearce has yet to take his oath, former Post One Earl Johnson remains the commissioner.
“Mr. Johnson has agreed that if needed. He automatically holds over. His term of office doesn’t end until the next person is sworn in,” Doss explained. “He holds over with the same obligations and privileges as he has held for the previous four years to the extent needed, and he desires to and is willing to until Mr. Scearce can be sworn in.”
Chairman Jamie Hensley asked, “Let’s just say that Mr. Johnson decides he would be more than happy to help us. Three weeks down the road, he decides ‘I got out of it for a reason.”
According to Doss, if Johnson decided he didn’t want to continue with Post One duties, it wouldn’t be considered a vacancy because it doesn’t fall under the list of nine types of vacancies described by the state. It wouldn’t trigger a special election period because Johnson’s a “holdover” from the previous board until Scearce assumes his responsibilities.
“Then the two of you would continue on,” Doss asserted. She cited when Tommy Stephens died, the recall election, and other examples when two commissioners presided over the board.
However, none of those individuals were taking a new office at the time. The current situation has never occurred in Fannin County before.
The county attorney stated that the law doesn’t address how many meetings a commissioner can miss either. She cited the Georgia attorney general in 1991, who deemed that after three meetings with no communication as to why someone was absent, they can be “deemed to abandon their job.”
Georgia Code determines vacancies by the following criteria: death, resignation, competent tribunal declares office vacant, voluntary act or misfortune of the incumbent that renders them ineligible, non-citizens of state or county, failure to obtain certificates, commissions, or bond, and abandoning office.
Scearce made great strides to overcome COVID-19 and its related illnesses and would prefer to take the oath in person. If needed, he could obtain a doctor’s note to perform Post One duties remotely, but according to Doss, he physically doesn’t meet the “bodily infirmity” vacancy standard.
Hensley and Post Two Glenn Patterson wished Scearce a continued speedy recovery and prayers to him and his family.