There are still more questions than answers regarding Thursday’s sudden suspension of Hinesville City Manager Billy Edwards.
Edwards, who has served the city for more than 30 years, was suspended for two weeks without pay by a 3-1 vote after an executive session that apparently angered Mayor Allen Brown to the point he left the closed meeting and did not return to his seat at the council table.
The executive session itself was not on Thursday’s agenda, but was placed there after a request from District 1 Councilwoman Diana Reid to go into closed session to discuss personnel.
Video of Thursday’s meeting available on the city’s website does little to clear things up.
It shows when council members, with Edwards and city clerk Sarah Lumpkin also present, returned to the council
chambers, Mayor Pro Tem Kenneth Shaw presided over the remainder of the meeting.
He appeared to ask for a motion to bring into open session “an action taken back there,” — in response to a question of whether an action had been taken in closed session.
Reid then made a motion to suspend Edwards, and District 3 representative Vicky Nelson and District 4’s Keith Jenkins voted in favor.
Jason Floyd, who represents District 2, voted against the measure.
Georgia law allows councils to go into closed session to discuss legal issues, real estate deals and personnel matters, though any vote must be taken in public and there are exceptions to what can be discussed behind closed doors.
Those involved have not responded to a request for comment through Hinesville Public Relations Manager Brittany Denney.
The Courier filed an open record’s request Friday night seeking records from several recent council meetings. That information will be made available early next week, according to Lumpkin.