Editor, For three years, I wrote the Midway Perspective, detailing the misdeeds of the mayor and city council. I finally gave up because there was a lack of interest by the citizens of Midway. Because of the failure of the citizens overseeing them, the mayor and city council just does whatever they want even if what they do is not in the best interest of its employees and residents, such as spending $1 million for a city hall that they don’t deserve.
Here is an example of how the city employees are treated. On Nov. 28 at a council meeting, two city employees were discussed in a closed executive meeting and then a vote was taken to reprimand them. Finance Director, Gwendolyn Lowe was reprimanded for doing her job. As finance director, it is her responsibility to bring to the attention of the city council any expenditures that should not be in the budget, such as a budget item that was not necessary. Being the expert in this field, she should speak up on such issues, but not if the mayor disagrees.
Chief Kelli Morningstar was reprimanded and suspended for not moving fast enough for the mayor’s liking. She was charged by the mayor for insubordination— Insubordination is the act of willfully disobeying one’s superior.
The mayor ordered Chief Morningstar to clean out a storage shed. The Chief filled two poly carts and needed another, but the people at city hall did nothing to get her one. Then, she needed a truck or trailer to dispose of the trash. Officer Duvale Page, Sr. used his own personal trailer when the city should have provided one. Two officers were taken away from patrol just to make the mayor happy. Of course, she wasn’t pleased and wouldn’t listen to the problems that the Chief faced, or the fact that the property the mayor wanted the Chief to clean did not belong to the police department. Is this insubordination?
By the way, the mayor tried to tell Joe Parker, senior correspondent for the Courier, not to reveal what transpired at the meeting, knowing that he is a reporter — a violation of the First Amendment.
I believe that the mayor and city council violated the Open Meetings Act 2012. Under O.C.G.A. 50-14-2 (b) (2), When discussing or deliberating disciplinary action of an employee, all evidence and votes, must be taken in public and the minutes provided. Only deliberations can be done in a closed session.
In this case, neither employee was notified of pending actions or allowed to defend their actions in an open forum, nor were they advised of the pending proceedings prior to that meeting. They found out about the completed actions in the newspaper. Any evidence that there was a wrongdoing by the employees was not presented in an open meeting. In fact, Chief Morningstar was not even aware of what the mayor and city council was reprimanding her for until a week later.
Under O.C.G.A. 45-11-4 (b) (1 and2), any public officer may be charged for malpractice, misfeasance or malfeasance in office, using oppression or tyrannical partiality in the administration or under the color of his or her office.
How far are the citizens of Midway going to put up with the arrogance and misconduct of Mayor Clemontine Washington, Lavern Clancey, Jr., Curtis Roberts and Stanley Brown. Brown would like to get rid of the Midway Police Department, especially after he was given a speeding ticket.
This matter should be investigated by the state’s attorney general, the actions rescinded, and the mayor owes these employees an apology for violating their rights.