Title 38, Chapter 3, Section 50
(a) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) "Disaster" means any happening that causes great harm or
(2) "Emergency" means a sudden generally unexpected occurrence or
set of circumstances demanding immediate action.
(3) "Emergency interim successor" means a person designated
pursuant to this Code section, in the event an officer is
unavailable to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of an
office, until a successor is appointed or elected and qualified as
may be prescribed by the Constitution, statutes, laws, charters,
and ordinances of this state and its political subdivisions, or
until the lawful incumbent or his successor is able to resume the
exercise of the powers and the discharge of the duties of the
(4) "Local offices and local officers" means positions in the
political subdivisions of the state.
(5) "Office" means the position of head of any and all
departments, agencies, boards, or commissions of the state or any
of its political subdivisions; all constitutional General Assembly
offices; all constitutional and other county offices; all of the
judgeships of the state and its political subdivisions; and all of
the positions in the legislative departments of the state or its
(6) "Officer" means the individual who shall hold an office.
(7) "Political subdivisions" means cities, counties, towns,
villages, authorities, and any other bodies created by the state
and exercising any of the governmental powers of the state.
(8) "State office" and "state officer" mean positions in the
government of this state.
(9) "Unavailable" means either that a vacancy in an office exists
as the result of any emergency as defined in paragraph (2) of this
subsection and there is no deputy or other successor authorized to
exercise all of the powers and discharge all of the duties of the
office, or that the lawful incumbent of the office, including any
deputy exercising the powers and discharging the duties of an
office because of a vacancy, and his duly authorized deputy are
absent or unable to exercise the powers and discharge the duties
of the office.
(b) All state officers shall within 30 days after taking office, in
addition to any deputy authorized pursuant to law to exercise all of
the powers and discharge the duties of office, designate by title
individuals as emergency interim successors and specify their order
of succession. The officer shall review and revise, as necessary,
designations made pursuant to this Code section to ensure their
current status. The officer will designate a sufficient number of
such emergency interim successors so that there will be not less
than three nor more than seven deputies or emergency interim
successors or any combination thereof at any time. In the event that
any state officer is unavailable following an emergency or disaster
and in the event his deputy, if any, is also unavailable, the powers
of his office shall be exercised and the duties of his office shall
be discharged by his designated emergency interim successors in the
order specified. The emergency successors shall exercise the powers
and discharge the duties only until such time as the Governor under
the Constitution or authority other than this Code section, or other
official authorized under the Constitution or this Code section to
exercise the powers and discharge the duties of the office of
Governor, may, where a vacancy exists, appoint a successor to fill
the vacancy or until a successor is otherwise appointed or elected
and qualified as provided by law, or until an officer or his deputy
or a preceding named emergency interim successor becomes available
to exercise or resume the exercise of the powers and discharge the
duties of his office.
(c) All emergency interim successors designated under this Code
section shall have the same qualifications as are prescribed by law
for the officer by whom they are designated.
(d) Designations of emergency interim successors to state officers
shall become official upon the officer filing a list of the
successors with the Secretary of State, who shall inform the
Governor, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, all emergency
interim successors to the officer involved, and the judge of the
probate court of the county of legal residence of the successors of
all such designations and any changes therein. Any designation of
an emergency interim successor may be changed or altered by the
officer concerned filing a notice of the change or alteration with
the Secretary of State.
(e) All constitutional county officers shall within 30 days after
taking office, in addition to any deputy authorized pursuant to law
to exercise all the powers and discharge the duties of the office,
designate by title individuals as emergency interim successors and
specify their order of succession. The successors shall have the
same powers, duties, and qualifications as specified by subsections
(b) and (c) of this Code section for successors to state officers.
Designations of the successors shall be made in the same manner as
prescribed for successors to state officers in subsection (d) of
this Code section.
(f) The legislative bodies of all political subdivisions of the
state are authorized and directed to provide by ordinance or
resolution for emergency interim successors for the officers of the
political subdivisions. The resolutions and ordinances shall not be
inconsistent with this Code section.
(g) At the time of their designation, emergency interim successors
shall take such oath as may be required for them to exercise the
powers and discharge the duties of the office to which they may
succeed. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person, as a
prerequisite to the exercise of the powers or discharge of the
duties of an office to which he succeeds, shall be required to
comply with any other provision of law relative to taking office.
(h) Emergency interim successors shall receive the same compensation
as is paid the officer by whom they are appointed. The compensation
shall be paid only during such time as a successor shall exercise
the powers of the officer by whom he has been designated.
(i) Governmental powers shall be exercised by emergency interim
successors appointed under this Code section only during a period of
emergency or disaster, as defined by this Code section.