Former School Spokesman Returns to Work After DUI Conviction
Mike McGowan, however, is no longer the Director of Public Education, Communications and Partnerships.
Former spokesman for the Cherokee County School District, Mike McGowan, returned to work earlier this month after a four-month leave of absence following a DUI conviction.
The school district would not comment on specifics of McGowan's return beyond this issued statement:
"He will be working in a strategic planning capacity in the department of Accountability, Technology and Strategic Planning," said Trey Olson, assistant superintendent of personnel management. "Mr. McGowan’s return to work was predicated upon his successfully meeting multiple conditions as determined by the department of Personnel Management."
McGowan is working at a supervisor level now, a step below that of a director which he held previously, according to the Cherokee Ledger. While directors within the system make between $95,000 and $120,000 annually, supervisors make between $85,000 and $107,000.
It’s unclear whether McGowan's new job was open or whether it was created for him.
"We have a number of vacancies in our organizational chart," said Carrie Budd, a spokesperson with the school system. Jacoby starts her new job next week.
McGowan sought help with his alcohol-related problems earlier this year. It was that or face the three months in jail prosecutors were seeking.
McGowan enrolled in the county’s DUI/Drug Court.
The program is an intensive supervision and rehabilitation court for repeat offenders.
It has strict rules that McGowan had to follow including the wearing of an alcohol-monitoring ankle device.
McGowan’s arrest in December was his fourth DUI in Georgia.
Solicitor General David Cannon Jr. said McGowan asked the court to be allowed to participate in the drug court program.
“They have to want to do it for themselves,” said Cannon, who didn’t handle the case himself.
Cannon said his assistant solicitor took the case to court because his father, David Cannon Sr., was McGowan’s defense attorney.
McGowan, 40, pleaded guilty in late January to the DUI he got Dec. 17, 2010, in Cherokee, plus the charge of failure to maintain a lane. Both are misdemeanors.
A sentence of 90 days in jail was suspended as long as McGowan complied with the drug court program, paid his fines and fees and completed his 40 hours of community service.
A spokesperson with the program wouldn’t comment on McGowan’s status, so it is unclear if he has finished it. The drug court program can last up to two years.
Because it was the first DUI conviction McGowan had had in five years, he was able to get a limited drivers license to get to work and court-related activities.
McGowan was arrested Dec. 17 on Little Refuge Road. Deputy Brad Gibbs found six Michelob Ultra bottle caps in his front right pocket.
McGowan told the deputy that he had just come from Sheriff Roger Garrison's house and was wearing his pants. Garrison has said that McGowan was not at his house that night, but two nights before that during an ice storm.
Garrison lent McGowan a pair of pants the next morning, said sheriff department spokesman Jay Baker.
McGowan has been convicted of three DUIs in Cherokee County, in 1998, 2003 and 2010. A fourth DUI charge in 2008 in Pickens County was reduced to reckless driving.
McGowan met with Cherokee School Superintendent Frank Petruzielo in December to discuss the status of his job. He requested an extended leave without pay, according to a statement the district released then.
The school system has since hired Jacoby.