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City manager under scrutiny should take a leave of absence
Letter to the Editor generic

Dear editor,

I’ve noticed a lot of conjecture in recent additions of the Courier on the matter of the city manager, Mr. Kenneth Howard, and would like to also express my opinion.

First of all, I’ve known, and as a now retired Hinesville police office, worked alongside of Mr. Howard for 20-plus years. During that time I came to know Mr. Howard and his family as staunch, hardworking citizens and government employees.  Never during those years did I find or see fault with any of the actions or endeavors of Mr. Howard.

However, the recent indictment and subsequent arrest of Mr. Howard have clearly cast a shadow on his propriety to continue to serve as this case unfolds and comes to fruition.  It should be known and understood that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation does not seek an arrest warrant without strong probable cause. This policy is doubled down on in cases involving police officers, public officials and government employees.  

The parameters of this case, paid illicit sex with teenaged college students, involving an ongoing circle of prostitution are particularly repugnant.  Allegations in this category are routinely dealt with by a leave of absence, either administratively ordered or voluntarily, by involved persons.  I see no reason, at all, why Mr. Howard’s case should be handled differently.  The idea that it did not involve an action of his employment is nothing other than a “cop out.”

I feel today, as I did on day one of this matter, that Mr. Howard should either take a voluntary leave of absence or be administratively relieved until this matter is cleared, at which time the decision for his continued employment can be determined.  It is time for the Mayor and Council to revisit this matter with a view of upholding the standards and morals of our community.

Joe Gillam


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