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WAYNESBORO, Ga. – Mayor Greg Carswell sent shockwaves through council with his announcement Monday night. This is not a resignation just a temporary leave of absence for now.

Vice Mayor James Jones will serve as interim mayor, and he wants to assure the community that Waynesboro is in good hands.

“I finally recognize that in the best interest of the citizens and the city and my family that I need to take a leave of absence,” said Mayor Gregory Carswell.

That’s Waynesboro Mayor Gregory Carswell announcing he was taking a step back from his duties as mayor.

“Everybody was kinda little bit in awe of the situation,” said Jones.

Jones says Carswell gave him a heads-up about three minutes before the announcement.

“I felt kinda dismay, sorry for him. Confused. But I understand we all got a job to do,” said Jones.

It’s been a long year for the mayor outside of leading the city. He ran into some legal trouble last July, when he was hit with four charges relating to theft by deception and identity theft. At the time, Carswell said he was innocent and his lawyer said he would not be stepping down. In January, his brother Brian was killed and his killers were arrested two months later. And just last week, he found out his son needs surgery.

“He didn’t feel like he could give the city 100 percent of his attention, and the city requires that,” said Jones.

Carswell still has about two years left on his term. Jones says they won’t be searching for a replacement right now.

“Until we get this resolved, we won’t know what to do. We won’t start planning

that until we know what’s up with him,” he said.

He says in the meantime, the city is in good hands. He says they’ll continue to focus on the mayor’s key points of infrastructure, attracting business, and lowering crime.

“As long as we do what we’re supposed to do in the way that we’re supposed to do it, the city’s gonna be alright,” he said.

As for those charges we reached out to the Statesboro Police Department in Bulloch County. They tell us there’s no new update becuase the case is still open in superior court.