Stockbridge to Consider Changing Council Member Complaint Process

STOCKBRIDGE— Some Stockbridge officials are looking to make changes to the city’s ethics code, particularly to address council member complaints against each other.

An item was listed on Tuesday’s agenda to discuss the city’s ethics code at the request of Councilman Elton Alexander, but the item was removed after Mayor Judy Neal cast the tie-breaking vote for removal.

Mayor Pro Tem Anthony Ford first asked that the item be removed since the Ethics Board would be having a meeting Wednesday where they could discuss the new information before it is presented to the City Council. Councilwoman Neat Robinson wanted to keep the item on the agenda for discussion.

“We received a visit from GMA (Georgia Municipal Association) and were advised not to have complaints against council members. I would like the attorney to present the information,” said Robinson.

Though the council later voted to remove the item as a discussion item, City Attorney Michael Williams came forward to briefly review the proposals, concurring with Robinson’s comments regarding the GMA.

One of the Ethics Code proposals suggested that ethics complaints among council members be handled by the City Council behind closed doors, instead of letting the case be reviewed by the city’s Ethics Board.

The second option, Williams explained, would be to refer council members’ complaints to the Ethics Board after a majority vote of the council.

Williams commented that he would recommend doing away with the Ethics Board since the board makes a recommendation to the City Council, who makes final determinations.

“Complaints among council members should not cost the city money,” said Alexander, referencing an approximate $10,000 bill for an investigator recently hired to investigate a slew of complaints against him. One of those complaints was filed by fellow Councilman John Blount. “This just says issues and complaints among each other should be handled behind closed doors.”

Blount, who voted to remove the item, implied he did not want to consider the proposals at all.

The Ethics Board will meet Wednesday at 6 p.m. to discuss the city’s ethics code and complaint form. The meeting will be held in the Patrick Henry Meeting Room of City Hall, 4640 North Henry Blvd.

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