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.

Mayor

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.

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.

Helen F. Hardman
Post 2

Helen Hardman, Post 2
Elected 2018

Having a thirty-year professional background in the Tourism Industry and twelve in the Banking Industry make Council Member Hardman an integral asset to Dahlonega. Her academic background consisting of Organization Management with the University of Georgia, Economic Development and STS Marketing at the University of North Georgia have trained her to look at many different aspects of tourism and development and the methods of achieving sustainability in both.

Serving on the Rotary Club in five cities, the State Better Home Town Board and the State Tourism Board, Council Member Hardman is committed to creating a better quality of life for the citizens and tourists while managing growth and development of Dahlonega.

As a Piano Performance Major of Furman University, she is an accomplished organist, having served as a church organist in six cities since 1954.

Mitchell Ridley
Post 3

Mitchell Ridley, Post 3
Elected 2014

A native of Dahlonega, Councilman Ridley has an extensive history in serving the community in various capacities. Currently, he is a member of the Blue Mountain Lodge #38, actively volunteering and supporting a multitude of events throughout the community. He is a former Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Jaycee and member of the Historical Preservation Commission and is truly community driven. This involvement has a positive impact on both his personal life and the community. It also influences those around him as he leads by example.

As Owner and Creative Director of the local beauty salon, Hairworks, he keeps the citizens of Dahlonega looking their best. Possessing a natural artistic talent, he combines art and science to create unique styles and personalized treatments. Thirty-eight years’ operating a business, he recognizes the importance of delivering quality services and ethical leadership.

In his downtime, Councilman Ridley enjoys vegetable gardening, camping and travels with his wife Shay, their three children and four grandchildren, all whom reside in Dahlonega. His life truly demonstrates that Dahlonega is a city in which to live, work & play.

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.

JoAnne Taylor
Post 5

JoAnne Taylor, Post 5
Elected 2017

As an experienced Executive Professional, Council Member Taylor serves our community in several capacities as her way of “giving back”. After a 32-year career with IBM, she retired from her position of Vice President in the Global Telecommunications Industry. She holds a BA in English Literature from Mercy College and is a Certified Sales Executive. Her extensive career included positions in executive and line management, applications development, systems programming, systems engineering and large system sales, which required many moves based on the assignments.

Residing in Dahlonega since 2004, Council Member Taylor is an Alumni of Leadership Lumpkin Class of 2009, and has previously served the community as a volunteer with the Lumpkin County Literacy Coalition, Secretary of the Joint Development Authority of Dawson, Lumpkin and White Counties, Vice Chair of the Development Authority of Lumpkin County, and as a Corporate Board member with Connect North Georgia. She is Past President of the Community Helping Place, currently serving as Secretary of the Community Helping Place Board, a volunteer mentor in the Lumpkin County School System and serving on the Dahlonega City Council since Nov 2017. She received Kids First recognition from Family Connection in 2018. She is also serves on the Advisory Board for Georgia Mountains WorkSource. All of her net earnings from her role on City Council are donated to local charities.
During the Georgia Municipal Association’s (GMA) annual meeting on July 2, 2020, Council Member Taylor was elected first vice president for GMA District 2, putting her in line to succeed as president of the district. In this role, Taylor will serve as a liaison between GMA and municipal officials in GMA’s District 2. GMA is the only state organization that represents municipal governments in Georgia. Based in Atlanta, GMA is a voluntary, non-profit organization that provides legislative advocacy, educational, employee benefit and technical consulting services to its members. GMA currently represents 537 cities in Georgia.

She will also attend GMA-sponsored events, including the association’s annual convention; promote engagement in GMA activities and programs with other cities in the district; advocate for GMA’s legislative priorities; and share with GMA staff any needs and concerns of member cities in their district. As the District First Vice President, Taylor will also serve on GMA Board of Directors.

Along with her vested interest in our community she also enjoys time with family, reading, observing birds in their natural habitat, singing choral music, traveling, golf and baking bread.
Council Member Taylor is very appreciative of the opportunity to serve in a community that she loves!

Ron Larson, Post 6
Elected 2016

Serving a four-year term, Council Member 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.

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