Will Flowery Branch Stay on the Censure Train?
The minutes from the censure meeting have been posted and it is some entertaining reading. The question now is if the council will censure the Mayor for not performing his duties. Section 2.4 of the Flowery Branch Charter list the Mayor’s duties as:
(a) To preside at all meetings of the city council and be recognized as the official head and spokesperson of the city for service of process and ceremonial purposes;
(b) To vote on matters before the city council only in case of a tie, or if his or her vote is necessary to constitute a sufficient number to transact business;
(c) To sign, for and on behalf of the city, all contracts, ordinances, instruments, and other documents authorized by the city council and which are required to be in writing, unless otherwise directed or authorized by the city council; and
(d) To fulfill such other duties as authorized by the city council.
The question for the council should be: Did the Mayor fulfill his duties as authorized by the city council? In looking at the minutes from the meeting, when the Mayor asked the City Attorney to explain what action could be taken by the Council, the attorney informed the Mayor and Council that “If there is a vote of censure, there would be a formal statement from the presiding officer, which would be the Mayor that this action is deemed improper, that it should stop, and if it continues, further disciplinary action may be taken.”
In looking through the minutes, the mayor did add to the discussion on the vote (after the motion and second) saying that “he (Mayor) did not think that this was handled professionally. Someone being blindsided by such serious accusations and having less than an hour to decide whether to deal with it or not when obviously everyone else on the Council knew about this, he can’t have respect for that. Public grandstanding and trying to make political points on such a serious issue causes him to have a lack of respect. This was a political “gotcha” moment. This kind of turmoil is what has the County Commission up in arms right now and he thinks that we all know who is behind this.” After the vote, there was no “formal statement from the presiding officer, which would be the Mayor that this action is deemed improper, that it should stop, and if it continues, further disciplinary action may be taken.”
In looking though the charter, it appears that censure would be an option, but removal from office would be another option. Section 5.4 of the Charter says that the mayor shall be removed from office for “neglect to perform the duties thereof” or “failure for any other cause to perform the duties of office as required by this charter”. The council made a legal action and the mayor failed or maybe refused to perform the duty. The question becomes, will the council press the issue.
Hugh Hall County Akston