City of Dahlonega Mayor & Council

The government of the City of Dahlonega is vested in a City Council composed of a Mayor and six Council Members. Each member will serve a four-year term of office. To be eligible to serve as Mayor or Council member, the candidate must be a resident of the city for a period of one year immediately prior to the date of the election and continue to reside within the city during the period of service.

To be a candidate for Mayor or City Council, one must be registered and qualified to vote in the municipal election of the City of Dahlonega and must meet the qualification standards required by the Georgia House of Representatives as of now, or may in the future, be prescribed by the Georgia Constitution.

Contact the Mayor & Council
Use the link above to send an email message to the mayor and councilmembers.


The Mayor is elected the Chief Executive Officer of the City of Dahlonega. He possesses all of the executive and administrative powers granted to the city under the Constitution and laws of the State of Georgia, and all the executive and administrative powers contained in the City Charter. The Mayor presides at all meetings of the council, votes as a member of the council only at such times as are necessary to break a tie or deadlock of the council, to be the official head of the City for the service of process and for ceremonial purposes, has power to administer oaths and to take affidavits, sign all written contracts entered into by the council on behalf of the City and all other contracts and instruments executed by the City which by law are required to be in writing, sees that all laws and ordinances of the City are faithfully executed, and performs other duties as may be required by law, the City Charter or ordinance or as otherwise directed by the City Council.

Sam Norton, Mayor
Elected Mayor 2018
Elected 2006

Mayor Norton was born and raised in South Georgia (Lakeland) where he still owns the family ‘Norton Farm’ which grows pecans and timber. He has lived in Dahlonega Georgia since 2000. A modern-day renaissance man he has been a home builder, merchant, and politician at various times and all three at one time.

Mayor Norton is an established entrepreneur operating three businesses in Dahlonega with his wife Julia. He is readily accessible and typically available most any time at his restaurant in Historic Downtown Dahlonega. Constituents are welcomed to stop by for a cup of coffee and discuss concerns or just catch up. If by chance he is not in, his business card with cell phone number is openly displayed on the counter. Mayor Norton is one of the most accessible elected officials in the county.

Starting his Dahlonega public service on the Dahlonega Historical Preservation Commission, Mayor Norton later was elected as President of the Dahlonega Merchant Association by his peers. He has served on the Dahlonega City Council since 2006 and is the previous chairman of our thirteen county Georgia Mountains Regional Commission as well as various other appointments and committees. He is an Executive Board member of the Georgia Municipal Association of Georgia as well as board member of the Training Committee which develops mandatory and elective training programs and policy for elected officials statewide.

Mayor Norton has been a consistent member of the Chamber of Commerce since 2000, Chairman of the Lumpkin County High School Governance Board and a current member of the Dahlonega Sunrise Rotary Club.

“Your encouragement and support are appreciated, and your trust is cherished. I am honored for the privilege to serve you”-Sam Norton

The City Council

The corporate powers of the government of the City of Dahlonega are exercised by the Dahlonega City Council. The Dahlonega City Council is responsible for enacting ordinances, resolutions, and regulations governing the City. Forty-nine specific powers of the city are enumerated in the City Charter, including the following: levy and collection of property taxes, license fees, franchise fees, beer and wine taxes, miscellaneous permit fees, hotel/motel taxes, and sales taxes. To contact all members of the Dahlonega City Council, please direct your messages to:

Roman Gaddis
Post 1

Roman Gaddis, Post 1
Elected 2014

Councilman Gaddis is a native of Dahlonega/Lumpkin County, therefore, his interest in the City of Dahlonega is strong and runs deep. He enjoys being an active member of the community, and he is somewhat of a local celebrity as a musician playing mandolin with the local band Ugly Cousin.

Presently he serves as an active member of the University of North Georgia Alumni Association Board as well as a Sigma Chi Fraternity Chapter Advisor.

Councilman Gaddis brings immense knowledge, skill, and talent to the City of Dahlonega as he holds a BBA in Finance from the University of North Georgia and a Master of Education in Instructional Design and Development from the University of Georgia.

As Executive Director of Technology for Dawson County Schools and former Global Product Specialist for Pearson/PowerSchool, his professional experiences paired with his zest for innovative technologies aids in creating strategic plans for development and growth within Dahlonega.

Joel Cordle
Post 2

Appointed 2021

Joel is a native of North Georgia and settled in Dahlonega 20 years ago. He retired in 2016 from the City of Dahlonega after serving as its Downtown Development Authority/Main Street Director for 10 years. During his tenure, Dahlonega earned the prestigious Great American Main Street Award from the National Main Street Center in 2016 and the Award for Excellence in Downtown Development from the Georgia Downtown Association in 2010.
As a member of the City Council, Joel holds Dahlonega’s history and prosperity as top priorities. His focus is on protecting and supporting the city’s assets, while planning for future assets that are appropriate and sustainable. His professional experience and training include 36 years of work in local and state government and expert community and economic development.
Joel is a graduate of the University of Georgia where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a post-graduate certification in local government management. He also earned certification from the Georgia Downtown Association as a Senior Downtown Development Professional. Since his retirement, Joel has led 30 Georgia cities, as a professional consultant, in planning and implementing their downtown preservation and economic revitalization programs.
Before moving to Dahlonega, Joel worked for Athens-Clarke County Government as the Arts Administrator for 16 years, during which he was responsible for programs, facilities, personnel, budget, construction and maintenance, public relations, and grants.
Joel has served as a volunteer for local and state organizations, including president of the Georgia Downtown Association, founding board member of the Georgia Pick & Bow Traditional Music School, member of the Bear on the Square Festival Committee, and ex-officio member of the Dahlonega-Lumpkin Chamber of Commerce board of directors; in addition, he served on boards of the University of North Georgia Appalachian Studies Center, Lumpkin County High School Career Technology & Agricultural Education, the University of North Georgia Visual Arts Advisory Council, and the Georgia Assembly of Community Arts Agencies.

This post is currently vacant.

Johnny Ariemma
Post 4

Johnny Ariemma, Post 4
Elected 2020

Councilman Ariemma is a long-time resident of Dahlonega, nearly 25-years. Both he and wife Catherine of 34-years raised their daughters in Dahlonega and the Lumpkin County School System and are active in the community. As an entrepreneur and businessman, Ariemma had the opportunity to retire from the corporate world nearly two decades ago. This allowed him to invest in Dahlonega. His property holdings include several commercial properties, including city businesses consisting of a hotel and private villas for overnight guests, and an event facility. This is Ariemma’s second time to serve on the council.

Ariemma is a graduate of Northwood University with BBA in Management / Computer Science and Finance. His work career has been primarily in the Automotive Refinishing industry. In 1995 he co-founded and was a principle owner of Single Source Inc, which is a national distributor for automotive refinishing products. Councilman Ariemma is currently active as a board member for the St. Vincent DePaul Society, providing much assistance to the needy of our community. As the founder of the Michigan Epsilon chapter of Phi Delta Theta international fraternity, councilman Ariemma is also the Chapter Advisory Board chairman and chapter advisor for the newly chartered Phi Delta Theta chapter at the University of North Georgia.

When the councilman is not riding motorcycles across the US and Canada, his love and passion are for his growing family (he just became a grandfather), and historic preservation and keeping Dahlonega’s historic properties maintained. His practical business sense and love for Dahlonega provides a well-needed point of view on City Council.

This post is currently vacant.
Post 5

Ron Larson, Post 6
Elected 2016

Serving a four-year term, Councilman Larson’s desire to promote the welfare and advancement of our community is evident as he currently serves as the President of the Dahlonega Sunrise Rotary Club, former member of the University of North Georgia Finance Committee, former Treasurer and President of the Community Helping Place, Board Member of the Holly Theater, and member of the Advisory Board to the College of Business with the University of North Georgia.

Councilman Larson possesses a BBA in Accounting and MBA in Finance from Pacific Lutheran University. His former professional experiences include General Manager of Achasta Golf Course, Director of Philanthropy with Liberty Lutheran Services and CFO of Spartan Organization. Presently Ron is a part-time Lecturer at the University of North Georgia.

Since 2007 Councilman Larson calls Dahlonega “Home” with his lovely wife of 48 years, Linda.