Stockbridge Mayor Lee Stuart, July 6, 2012
STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. -- An e-mail from the Stockbridge municipal court clerk on Friday proved the last straw for a city council that has always had a contentious relationship with its mayor.
At its Monday night meeting, it voted 4-1 to censure Mayor Lee Stuart for his management style and demand an apology for employees.
So far that apology has yet to come, and Stuart says as far as he's concerned, he hasn't done anything wrong.
The censure states the mayor has publicly and privately made libelous statements and accused city employees of fraud, deception and theft.
"The mayor has routinely engaged in activities tapping people's e-mails, hiding in corners watching them do their work, following them, belittling them in public," said council member Richard Steinberg.
The council says it takes allegations of fraud and theft seriously. On Monday, it voted to investigate Stuart's claim that city employees were fixing traffic tickets. But instead of presenting the potential problem in a work session or calmly requesting an investigation, Mayor Pro Tem Mark Alarcon says the issue came up during a heated exchange at the courthouse.
On Friday, the court clerk says Stuart came in demanding immediate security changes.
"He told them we have to pull the desks back, get them away from the windows and put the filing cabinets in front of the windows to deflect bullets from the snipers," Alarcon said.
Alarcon isn't aware of any threats to the building and admits security could be increased at the building. But he says the changes Stuart recommended would have potentially created other safety problems, such as blocking fire escapes.
Stuart wouldn't comment on the censure until he and his lawyer read it. Nor would he say why he went to the courthouse to demand immediate security changes.
Council member Steinberg fears if something doesn't change, employees might quit or sue for a hostile work environment. Even if neither of those things happen, he believes workers should be treated better than they are now.