Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Dunwoody City Attorney under fire


Dunwoody City Council defers vote to terminate city attorney - Dunwoody Reporter
Earlier this year, Davis hired an investigator to look into the source of information about property sales being leaked from executive sessions. The council has heard the results, but has yet to read the report, he said.

“Because we have not received the report yet, we as a group decided to defer (the vote) until we could review it,” Davis said after the meeting.

22 comments:

alan said...

Guess if the Mayor & 1 council member doesn't like you, your out.
Hope if they fire the City Attorney they will be able to defend it in court.

GaryRayBetz said...
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GaryRayBetz said...

Ah, for awhile I wasn't sure if I was merely experiencing wafts of deja vu or if it was a nightmarish acid flashback where my mind's eye had me lounging in my fatigues in October of 1973 when then US President Tricky Dick Nixon dismissed independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox as well as demanded the resignations of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus in what became known as the "Saturday Night Massacre".

I applaud the courageous members of the council who requested to defer the termination vote until they are afforded more information and additional time to review it.

Let's at least pretend we are a city of "smart people" as is touted in our ludicrous town motto and use a little acumen and judiciousness in assessing this situation. We already saw what occurred when the political jackals were allowed to run riot in committing an act of character assassination on one of Dunwoody's founders and former member of council.

Max said...

To me, ethics trump legal interpretations.

Is it right?
Is it legal?
Who do I represent?
Who benefits?

Ethically, one ought to act. Legally, one shall act.

According to Ms. Melissa Weinman, Reporter Newspaper: “Further, I do not believe that under the open records and open meetings act that an actual violation of city ordinances could have occurred,” [Mr.] Anderson said. “The open records and open meetings act at that time did not have an exception for the disposal of city property.

The courts have constantly rejected any expansion to any of the exceptions of the act.

“I believe the bigger issue here is the removal of all checks and balances within the city,” Anderson added.

We ALL grapple with Ought Vs. Shall daily.

Our elected officials and City employees ought to make decisions based on whom they represent.

Citizens should not ask any more or any less.

Joe Hirsch said...

Part of our city attorney’s excuse for leaking information was that the information he leaked was not permissible to be discussed at a closed door meeting, so he didn’t violate anything. Yet, he was in attendance at that meeting and, as our city’s attorney, did not stop the discussions! What a pathetic, worthless, sad excuse: Don’t fire me for doing a crappy job and then talking about it. And it took repeated Open Records Requests to find out that he was at the meeting – because the city (attorney) did not know he was supposed to legally provide that info to the public. I think he is a horrible city attorney.

alan said...

“Because we have not received the report yet, we as a group decided to defer (the vote) until we could review it,” Davis said after the meeting.

Didn't he know that before he put it on the agenda?

Bob Lundsten said...

It is sad.. When the question came up whether or not the leaked meeting should have even be in an executive session, it was the City Attorney who said it did. The mayor assured us that the City Attorney said executive session was appropriate.
NOw Brian stands and says there is no provision for execution session to discuss the land swap.
Can't have it both ways

As for the no one havng read the report, including the accused, I must say I was stunned.

The motion to terminate, even the agenda item should have and could have been delayed a week until the written report was delivered.
Political mistake.

Rather than move forward last night the item could have even been withdrawn

The conversation after was who was the councilperson who leaked. If one or more of the council is identified as the source of the leak, should they be permitted to vote on the termination of an employee accused of the same thing they are suspected of?

Sad day. Now to be drawn out for another week.

Note to Council, next time your defer an item, be specifice publically when the item will be reheard. That should not be a difficult task.

Kerry de Vallette said...

Even a "freshman" mayor knows you don't put something on an agenda personally unless you have 4 votes. What happened between last Thursday and last night is anybody's guess, but I would bet "dollars to doughnuts" that the Mayor had 4 votes prior to putting that on the agenda. Two or more flip flopped is my bet.

The fact is appointed City executives serve at the will of Council. They can be terminated without "cause". Like it or not, that is life "at the top", much like it is in the corporate world! Yes, it sucks, but that is the way it is and it "At Will" wasn't invented by this council.

I suspect Council delayed the inevitable for Brian. Now the bigger question turns to the Council member(s) named in the report.

Any sitting Council member named in the report needs to recuse themself from any vote on the matter of the City Attorney. Otherwise this will certainly end up in the Courts.

Unless the Council member(s) resigns we will see the first test of our Ethics Board. God bless those 5 people should this thing heads their way! I'm Just Sayin'.....(shameless plug for my blog!)

GaryRayBetz said...

The AJC today indicated that thus far, former DeKalb County District Attorney Bob Wilson’s firm has billed the city $25,186 associated with the leak investigation via a contract that called for Wilson to be paid $150 per hour with public funds.

That information is arguably the most egregious part of the entire incident. The City of Dunwoody has thus far wasted $25,186 tax dollars on this witch-hunt of the Mayor and his lapdog councilman!

Start improving the City of Dunwoody Mr. Mayor instead of blowing our hard earned money on your puerile "he said/ she said" political games!

Do the Right Thing said...

We all have to remember Brian Anderson served the city for over 4 years and never leaked information before. Why would he do it this time?
I hope everyone would want what Brian deserves “Innocent until proven guilty”. This man has a wife that is very involved in the community and four children..I for one want to see the proof. This is someone's life and reputation - many of us have lost faith after this. Were all waiting and will be watching very, very closely...

Bob Fiscella said...

Bob - great post, thx. And Max, your comments remind me of the fabulous Paul Newman movie The Verdict.
At the end of the film Newman, playing the role of a broken down lawyer, gives this marvelous closing argument: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBD6FxrtJN0

GaryRayBetz said...

Looks like the political jackals are starting to gather round to pat each other on the back for their pernicious quips in the denigration of another good man as they did in the character assassination of one of Dunwoody's beloved founders. To each their own. They have to live with themselves.

However, may we, as taxpayers of Dunwoody, please have access for review an itemized account of each of the 168 hours that Attorney Bob Wilson’s firm has billed us for totaling $25,186.00 for this fishing expedition? We should have access to it; it was our hard earned money that the Mayor prompted the Council to so frivolously spend.

LeviHoff said...

Follow the money I always say...obviously there is something more than a leak here.
The heart of the matter is that SOMEONE is nervous the little real estate deal is not going to go through. Frightened enough to hire the Wilson attack dog at our expense.
Instead of being distracted by the attack on the city attorney, lets find out more about the deal. I think those throwing stones better be careful or they might find themselves on the wrong end of ethics inquiry.

Dunwoody DTOM said...

Interesting GRB how you have this certain alignment here of jackals or hyenas. Max, who is neither, grapples with ought vs. shall, but these are complex situations. If a meeting is open or closed or maybe in between is not certain always. Others seem to know it all. As usual. The seldom right, but never in doubt folks.

Bob Lundsten said...

all this talk about picking on Brian is absurd.
Kerry is right. Like any toher person working in the state of GA, your boss can fire you . NO reason, other than maybe the boss does not like the aftershave of perfume you were.
It is asd for Brian and his family no doubt, but you do not keep an employee becasue you like him as a friend or feel sorry for him

the fact that he served for 4 years is great, but not a reason to keep him IF there are 4 votes
That we will know AFTER the report is released.
There will be nothing to defend.

As for the 28K at $150 an hour, for lawyers that is a steal. Outside attorney was the only way to do this.

The report will be out Monday. Lets try to keep the rock throwing to a minimum until we all read it.

One last point. Brian mentioned at the end of his comment that his firing represented the end of checks and blances in the city.
A city attorney is NOT the check and balance. They are there to provide legal advice and opinion. The elected officials can listen and follow or totally disregard it.
That is where the role ends.

And why isn't there any concern or discussion over which Council person leaked info?

GaryRayBetz said...

Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur.

LeviHoff said...

Absurd is trying to get the council to fire someone when they havent seen the report yet!

Especially if you just paid 25K+ to whip up some "reasons" when, as it has been said, you could fire him for no reason.

And I think the word "steal" next to Wilson's fee is quite apt.

Investigate the real estate deal...before it is too late!!

Keeping it Reel said...

If the report identifies that a sitting Council member intentionally leaked information - that Council member needs to resign immediately. There is no excuse whatsoever for interfering with the due process that Council goes through! They need to be man, or woman, enough to put their issue out in the open.

Dunwoody DTOM said...

Yes, Levi, maybe it would be good to read full report first. Why the rush? Politics? Sure. 4 years of service as city attorney plus more time and effort to set up the city years before that. But we must act now - rush to judgment. How we do things, huh? Oh yeah, high level execs. so act like fools, they are sayin.

Now all of a sudden they can't trust the guy. Wowee. Throw him under the city bus.

Yes, Reel, maybe the council person should resign. But maybe read the report first and go next step - was information reely, reely top secret and classified as "DO NOT LEAK" really.

Plus if the LEAK was blogged about by a blogger, then was it reelly a big secret. Did blogger know it was a secret or not a secret. what did he know and when did he know it.

If the Crier guy said he did not get leak from City Attorney, then who gave out the leak that is such a big deal or is it reely. If attorney said he didn't leak, Crier guy said he didn't leak, then maybe there was no leak except for the blog leak. Too much.

Bobbe Gillis said...
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GaryRayBetz said...

So, why doesn't the newspaper and the blogger that published the leak feel any compunction? Why aren't these players in the incident being chastised? If they felt that the leaked information was so deleterious to the City of Dunwoody, why did they go ahead and publish it?

There once was an ethical era, when for the good of the country, the press didn't write articles about FDR's disability from polio, JFK's affairs, or Ronald Reagan's hearing aid while they were in office. But now the modus operandi of the press is so unpatriotic that they will out a convert CIA agent (i.e. Valerie Plame).

I long for the ethics and gentlemanly discretion of an earlier age. What we've got ourselves now is nothing but a bunch of tricoteuses that get a lurid thrill from seeing the salivating mob gleefully getting splattered with the blood of the next victim they are responsible for placing on the guillotine.

Dunwoody DTOM said...

Add to this GRB what Wendell Willard said in Dunw Reporter. No secret for talking about sale of city property. So nothing wrong even done here. Can't fire someone for this even if bloggers want to. And bloggers want to end the ancien regime. Decapitate it.