DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. -- Douglas County’s commission chairman says he will not resign – despite calls to do so following what critics are calling racist comments in a recording with a constituent.
County chairman Tom Worthan doesn’t deny making the comments. He says he was saying what he thought a constituent wanted to hear when spoke disparagingly about African American politicians.
"I want this story to be about my service to the community, and not one statement that I made that I shouldn’t have made," Worthan said to fellow commissioners during a public work session Monday morning.
With an election weeks away, many in the crowd had taken personally Worthan’s racially charged remarks about two local African American politicians – and asked Worthan to step down.
"He needs to do the honorable thing. It was unethical what he said. Whether he believes it or not, he said it. And I think he believed it," said Sen. Donzella James (D-Atlanta), who represents most of Douglas County in the state senate.
Worthan said the remarks were an aberration in a public service career that he said had never before hinted at racism.
"Is there one person in this room that has not made a statement that you wouldn’t want somebody to record... or put on the front page of the newspaper?" Worthan asked Monday. When the crowd started to answer, Worthan shut down the discussion.
State Rep. Kimberly Alexander (D-Douglasville) says she had worked well with Worthan until now. "If you really truly love Douglas County, if you really truly want to see Douglas County grow, it really can’t happen with you staying in that position," Alexander said.