Monday, May 21, 2012

Dunwoody Executive Session Leak Report Released - Councilwoman & City Attorney named.


Rebuttal to the findings?  That can be presented to the Dunwoody Board of Ethics but the final outcome of this report or further investigation by the Ethics Board has no bearing on the resolution presented by the Mayor last week to let the City Attorney go for a lack of confidence.

That resolution can be brought back up at any time.

44 comments:

GaryRayBetz said...

So, the taxpayers of Dunwoody paid $25,186.00 for this politically slanted piece of crap? I have to honestly say that I have had my children ask me to review many of their school term papers through the years and I don't believe that one of their papers was as poorly written or inchoately documented as this one. This is a legal document? One that our city is willing to use to destroy persons' livelihoods with (or perhaps even lives)?

The only benefit this document did was to pull back the kimono a bit for us regular citizens to get a peek of what type of childish backbiting, ruinous, and unscrupulous games that are played between some of our city's politicians, newspapermen, and political bloggers.

There really is no interest in improving the city - is there? All I see in this document are days spent in calumniation and petty cattiness. But you know what we have here folks - real life, not games - with real people, neighbors of all of ours in this comparably small town, whose lives are being defamed and ruined, needlessly, in a public shaming.

At many chronological points in this document, one can see where if somebody would have just asked themselves, "Is it really necessary to tattle on this person?", "What good will my conniving gossip do the city?", "Is it really necessary to print this information?", or "Is it really necessary to spend $25,186.00 of the taxpayers' money to pursue this personal political vendetta?" and all this could have been avoided - if just one of these folks would have shown a little discretion, been a little less impertinent, toned down their vindictive ire, or demonstrated a little integrity. This is not how communities of quality expect their leaders to behave.

Obviously it is well past the point for me to buy you all a shot of Jameson Irish Whiskey with a Guinness Stout back (or whatever you want, even a Dog's Nose, if you're so bent to put bitters and a shot of gin in your beer). But I would have, because I think it would have helped as I believe that you all forgot - we're all neighbors here.

Sight Edman said...

Excellent commentary Mr. Betz. Best bit of satire since the unfortunate demise of Thaddeus. Well done!

Dunwoody DTOM said...

So well said GRB, no one need say more. Thanks for speaking up.

Bob Lundsten said...

Friendships stop when you become an electd political officlal or when you are the City Attorney.
How Bob Wilson is "slanted" is beyond me.
You do not get to choose what you keep confidential and you do not get to violate privelage becasue you feel like it.
If the councilwoman was so sure , she should have gone public. She choose to LEAK it
/We all may be nieighbors and some may be friends, but as I have said a thousand times before, we are not a homeowners association. We are a city with legal requirements and policies. Violate those and you suffer the consequences of your actions
As I told my kids from the time they could understand , you are responsible for your actions .
Anderson and Bonser need to be held accountable. If yuo all think that is a minor issue, then you have indeed missed the point of political responsibility.


I

Bob Fiscella said...

GarRayBetz,
I enjoy reading what you write - keep it up! I'd love to share a shot of Jameson with a Guinness to wash it down (but pardon me if I wash it down with a Bud - it's a bad habit I have of drinking American beer).
This whole thing does "seem" petty, but it's not. It is ILLEGAL to leak information from an executive session. End of story. As John Heneghan often writes, "transparency in government breeds self-corrective behavior."
We now have that transparency. Unless, of course, you believe Bob Wilson is conducting a witch hunt, and from what I've heard about Mr. Wilson, he is as good as it gets, with no dog in this fight.
With that said, I agree, the report was poorly written! He's certainly not an English or journalism major!

Kerry de Vallette said...

The SIR (Special Investigators Report) is a bit of a challenge to follow from the view of chronological order of events. However, at the end of the day there is more than "here-say" evidence that was presented documenting actions and intent on the part of both Brian and Adrian.

Council has got to be about accountability and transparency. Otherwise, let's just reset the rules of order to be there are NO rules.

Keeping it Reel said...

Hey Gary Ray - are you still running that meth lab out of your trailer? There's no "politcal agenda" on the part of Wilson and to infer that is childish and unintelligent.

Bonser and Anderson have acted in an unprofessional and unethical manner. They have got to go to avoid the City Council becoming an out right circus.

GaryRayBetz said...

The report is unduly subjective or if you will politically slanted in many sections with phrases like "But Anderson cannot have it both ways."

In fact, before this report was made public, I recall reading a comment on a blog with that exact wording. Should we now have a another ludicrous investigation as to who leaked the leak report?

Regarding your comment as to me "running that meth lab out of your trailer", come now, just who is the "childish and unintelligent" person here? When the schlemiels start voicing their vile vituperations, then intelligent discussion is obviously over.

Mitch said...

Why does this situation feel like most of the real story is still hidden? The Report contains a number of inferred conclusions about the facts of disclosure and attributes intent to Mr. Anderson and Ms. Bonser based on speculation. The evidence can lead to multiple conclusions about who leaked what and when and what that person's intent may have been. However, the report is filled with inflammatory characterizations of Mr. Anderson and Ms. Bonser. It does not read like an impartial analysis of the facts. It is the bias evident in the language of the report that has people question the conclusions drawn in the report.

The open records laws at issue aren't particularly clear regarding whether and to what extent the information about the sale of property needed to be publicly disclosed. I can understand how Mr. Anderson's (or any other attorney's) opinion may have changed over time on this issue. I do think that one important aspect of those laws has not been discussed or given the attention that is required. Namely, the law REQUIRES disclosure of all items discussed in government meetings UNLESS the information falls within certain narrowly drawn exceptions. Moreover, when in doubt, disclosure is favored.

To me the more important questions revolve around the nature of the council's dealings with one private developer, Wieland Homes, in connection with the property and the Georgetown Project. How much of an exclusive head start did Wieland get on formulating a proposal for this development? I am also concerned about the modest retreat from the prior goal of creating significantly more green space in Dunwoody that Wieland's proposal represents. When will these concerns be open to public discussion?

GaryRayBetz said...

A very perceptively and intelligently articulated discourse, Mitch!

Keeping it Reel said...

GRB - more dribble drabble on your part.

1) The City Attorney is not an elected official. Anything and everything that goes on in the office or in Executive Session is priviledged (PERIOD)!!! There should no conversations with any members of the press about any of the City's activities. He/she is not the marketing communication department.
2) An attorney is trained that their job is to advise, not promote their agenda. Advise when requested, otherwise you need to be a fly on the wall! You don't have a personal opinion as the City Attorney if you want any form of career longevity.
3) Brian advised Council when JWH approached the City with the project that it needed to be discussed in Executive Session due to the 19 acre parcel which the City DOES NOT OWN. Now that the fecal matter has hit a series of radiating vanes or blades attached to a revolving hublike portion to produce a current of air and been dispersed, Brian wants to claim that since the 16 acres are OWNED the meetings were never really subject to Executive Session. How convenient. But regardless, its not his call anyway. He advises. As "W" would say - he's not the Decider!

Regarding my comment about running the meth lab out of your trailer. I apologize. I didn't realize you upgraded to a double wide. Business must be booming over there in Dunwoody North.

Sight Edman said...

Perhaps much has been uncovered that belongs in a personnel file or the hands of an Ethics Committee and not in a public report. At least not now.

I thought the report was quite clear in stating that it represented a summation and analysis of a larger body of information that would be made available to the City upon request.

As far as the persons named in the report, the report itself seems superfluous in dealing with the one and both necessary and sufficient for the other.

It's time to move past these issues and dig into how this entire real estate transaction was cooked up, who was involved, who initiated contact with THE developer (or vice versa) and of course, a timeline for how this all came down. Given that deal is done it seems the City should make all records surrounding the land swap publicly available.

$0.02

Dunwoody DTOM said...

Seems 'tis just a pseudo inferential string of characterizations masquerading as legal analysis exposing nothing but harmless comments about a done deal many people knew about already. City could have saved a fortune by setting up a blog and letting the typical bloggers do their usual exposes while telling everyone how things should be as only they really know.

GRB you r gonna need a couple cases of Jameson to get this gang of miscreants pulling together. These can't be your friends - this is politics now for sure. Keeping it Reel because u know so much u should get the facts on the JWH deal set up. Least that would add something to the comments here.

Dunwoody DTOM said...

Can we get city fathers to go back into executive session and stay there? Follow Sights advice - a personnel matter.

Take bloggers with u.

GaryRayBetz said...

Hey Dunwoody DTOM, I read your comments on another site. They were probably the most logical and salient points that have been made regarding this quagmire. Please post these insightful and brilliant words on this site and on others in order that additional persons are able to have benefit of them as well.

I prefer the Honorable Heneghan's site myself, where my detractors are allowed to paint such a colorful life for me as a methamphetamine manufacturer; however, as I have taken my credo from Lord Beaverbrook, "I'd rather be damn'd than ignored.", these disparagers have no idea how very pleased their picaresque aspersions make this lonely old man.

Dunwoody DTOM said...

Per the esteemed Lord Beaverbrook’s request:

Great to see some of you have the catchphrases so needed in considering this situation. Your over simplifications bode well for the out of hand dismissal of your statements.

No, this is not at all like an attempted bank robbery. Attempted bank robbery is a crime per se. It is defined by the effort to accomplish the end result. It is a clear cut, defined illegality regardless of any other circumstances.

There is no defined crime or illegality here. In fact, there is some disagreement on exactly what may or may not be disclosed and what should or should not be the subject of an executive session. Wendell Willard is quoted as saying that discussions about the sale of public property are not (or were not at the time) to be conducted in executive session.

In addition, there is much ambiguity about exactly what "secret" information was discussed and whether it was actually "secret" or intended to be secret.

While you would apparently condemn any behavior in this situation as "the ends can never justify the means," I find such statements simplistic and unpersuasive. Much like the bloggers constant maxims that upon reflection either do not apply to the circumstances or are so simplistically trite as to be meaningless.

All of which reminds me now of the "Report," which in my view is short on legal analysis and full of accusatory, yet upon study, irrelevant and likely incorrect conclusions. For example, "he didn't tell us this on our first interview, but brought it up later." Good grief, who builds a case and attacks someone because of further clarifications or additional recollections that they may make? Add to this the void of legal references and applicable law, and one wonders just what the City is paying for here.

Also the “Reports” flagrant criticism of the City Attorney for participating in discussions with City Council members about his ideas and thoughts which, no doubt, has been an extensive part of our City Attorney's life these past many years is absurd. He has done this during the formation of the City, spending tremendous amounts of time and effort for us all to even have a City. He has been friends with and had numerous dealings with all of these public servants for a long time. His opinions have guided the formation and initial set up of the City without fail for many years. For the Report to criticize him for speaking his thoughts at a meeting is ridiculous and offensive. No, someone here must think our City Attorney should be relegated to a back seat and have no input into the very entity into which he has poured hours upon hours of work and effort. No, someone here wants to redefine roles and assert authority which apparently our City Attorney was unwilling to follow.

All of this is no doubt troubling and unfortunate. The process reflects poorly on what has now become an extensive public discussion with little good being accomplished. All of this made the more repugnant by the fact that regardless of the fine legalities that may or may not have been breached here, nothing really negative happened and no secret details were disclosed as the author of the above news article stated. The information was publicly disclosed anyway in short order, and as is apparent from the blogs and articles, many, many people already knew what was going on anyway.

GaryRayBetz said...

Yep, that's the essay DTOM, thank-you much!

Chip said...

DTOM:

Sorry to burst your bubble, but attempted robbery is not a crime per se, but is a crime by mandate. If there is no harm nor theft accomplished, how would it be called a crime? Rather, it is mandated as a "crime" a posteriori for the intention and possible impact of the actions which could lead to both.

After all your arabesque we're still left with the same result: The city attorney went "fishin'" to test how much his friend the editor knew about confidential information. Then, when he knew the cat was "out of the bag" he was very forthcoming in his opinion and information. The correct response, per se, would have been along the lines "I can neither confirm nor deny that. I regrettfully must answer "No comment."

That's a breach of executive privilege, pure and simple.

The fact that the information was available from other sources is immaterial to the actions of the City Attorney. My analogy of attempted robbery is more apt than you first surmise. Let me ask you, if the robber were instead to have gotten away with a bag of counterfeit money, would that change the situation? No, because, by mandate intent to achieve the end is sufficient for a crime to be committed, albeit one that is punished less than an actual successful robbery.

Thus, the City Attorney clearly showed intent to divulge, and whether the issue was made moot several days later does not remove the obligation to hold executive privilege.

Dismissal from his "at will" position is a lesser punishment than facing criminal charges.

As to the report, it is badly written in spots, but it does show that two individuals moreso than the others felt compelled to adapt and change their recollections and interpretation of events, each time expanding their story to put themselves into a better light. For you to suggest that expanding and changing a story in the course of an investigation is not a legitimate indicator of deception would bring the whole practice of interrogation to a grinding halt.

You confuse the report with a legal indictment. The report stands on its face as an analysis of the facts as could be ascertained in a "he said, he said" case, and drew inferences from observed behavior.

The standard of evidence sufficient for prosecution is definitely not there, but there is enough to suggest that trust and confidence has been misplaced.

No matter what the sentiments, the City Attorney had the obligation, once he determined that his previous advice to the Council was in error, to so state to the Mayor and the Council and advise them to take remedial action. At no point could he legitimately act on his own accord to independently decide the material was no longer covered by executive privilege.

The City Attorney breached executive privilege and betrayed the trust and confidence of the Mayor and the Council by his actions.

The Mayor and the Council will decide his fate.

Dunwoody DTOM said...

I think Mitch's comments above answer your points. The law requires disclosure. You should read what Mitch says and then read it again.

And who authorized or asked for the Report to advise City of Dunwoody how it should run its meetings? We've been operating for years and now someone comes in and says do it differently. I resent this broader use of the Report to discredit our long standing operations.

Why did the Report even bring this up? The scope was about the "leak" not about anything else. No someone has a broader agenda here.

And we are paying for this. So ultimately everyone answers to the citizens. And this citizen gets more upset as we start to peel away the layers of how this Report goes beyond its authority as though the authors are some final arbiters of how City of Dunwoody operates.

Chip said...

DTOM:

I've read Mitch's comments and agree wholeheartedly with them.

You confuse "disclosure" with "blurting out a secret". If the City Attorney changed his opinion that the discussion was not covered by executive privilege, the proper course for him would be to advise the City Council and Mayor that they had conducted an illegal meeting, and advise them how to remedy that situation. It was incumbent on the City Council to make the corrections, not the City Attorney unilaterally.

At no time did the City Attorney ever suggest or invent a scenario where he advised that his previous recommendation for privilege was in error.

Mitch is absolutely correct in saying the law favors disclosure.

The mechanisms of the City government also dictate that the City Attorney fulfill his duties as an advisor to the Mayor and Council, not become a "tattletale" when things are not as he would prefer.

'Nuff said.

Keeping it Reel said...

D'woody dtom and GRB - you guys should form a garage band. Your first song could be a remake of the Byrd's - Turn, Turn Turn. Rename it Spin, Spin, Spin.

To everything,
Spin, Spin, Spin,
There is a reason,
Spin, Spin, Spin
And a time and excuse for every leak in Dunwoody!

Stop trying to make excuses for what is, at best, naivete on the part of Mr. Anderson in his almost daily pilgrimages to Dick Williams office to chat him up! That's fine when you are working on behalf of Citizens for Dunwoody, but not when you are the City Attorney.

GaryRayBetz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GaryRayBetz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GaryRayBetz said...

Hey "Keeping it Reel", in my days as a journey-man boxer we used to have a name for cowards like you that would sit in the back row and heckle, calling for blood, but were the first ones out the door when the folding chair brawl started, but I don't want to dishonor John's blog by using it here.

Listen, I'm done here, my youngest is graduating tonight so I gotta get cooking (figuratively, not the cooking you accused me of), but if some day you are tired of posting invectives on disparate sites from your Momma's basement, come knock on my door, I live on Brookhurst Drive, and we'll have a beer and maybe I'll take you into my double-wide and teach you to cook so you'll have a trade and a hobby to keep you out of your Momma's hair. I always say that no one's views are so repugnant that I will refuse to drink with them. So, don't pass this opportunity up, it might be your only chance at having a friend.

And really now, who writes your material? Carrot Top?

GaryRayBetz said...

Oh, there was one last thing -

Adversus solem ne loquitor.

And with that, I shall see you in the spring!

GaryRayBetz said...

Here is the most telling part of the the entire report -

"A blogger, Bob Lundsten, told Terry Nall that the information came to him from someone who 'got it from a female council member who was not new to the Council.'"

Do we as citizens of Dunwoody really want to be persons that condemn fellow hard-working citizens by such conniving gossip? I think not!!! Let's reject this subjective report and become neighbors who care about one another again!

GaryRayBetz said...

So, I guess the collective dream of a City of Dunwoody that will serve its citizens more efficiently and honorably than the county government has vanished due to puerile gossip, pettiness, paranoia, and finally a Pharisaic persecution.

Definitely a - "Paradise Lost"

"The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make heaven of Hell, and a hell of Heaven." - John Milton

GaryRayBetz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GaryRayBetz said...

The final travesty of this whole ludicrous situation is that the alleged leak was supposedly conveyed to a rag of a newspaper that nobody reads and a blowhard blogger whom no one believes. Almost the equivalent of my befuddled old Aunt whispering secrets to her Hummel figurines.

Bob Turner said...

"Dunwoody will pay $49,829 for its investigation into leaked information from a closed meeting last February."

By Patrick Fox

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Max said...

Gary Ray Betz: May 22, 12:46PM

"But Anderson cannot have it both ways."

"In fact, before this report was made public, I recall reading a comment on a blog with that exact wording.

Should we now have a another ludicrous investigation as to who leaked the leak report?"

That overlooked comment is key, in my thinking. Obviously, the blogger had prior knowledge of Wilson's work product, and obliquely chose to share it. An 'in your face' action, in my opinion.

Mayor Davis wisely notes: “Our ethics ordinance basically is pretty stringent. No. 1, it says if we know of an ethics violation we must report it to the Ethics Board. No ifs, ands or buts,” Davis said.

“When we finally had to do the ethics letter, everyone knew we had a leak. I’m not sure how you could not file the ethics letter.”

However, Davis said he thinks the city’s ethics laws are in need of revision. He said he would have liked to have another way to address the situation besides filing an ethics complaint against Bonser.

“There are several cities that have much better written ethics laws than this one, I think,” Davis said. “There’s just no levels of violations. There’s no multiple levels. If you have a violation of the ethics law, you have to file a complaint.”

Being charged in an Ethics case, for an actual violation and not some specious political fabrication, is never a positive development for any politician.

Think of the $50,000 as tuition for a graduate course in proper governance.

"If you think education is expensive, try the cost of ignorance." — Derek Bok

Terence MacSwiney "Remember 1920" said...

OK, been reading up on all the scandal backwards from the different. Unbelievable! Correct me if I'm wrong, but as I see it a blogger prints some gossip he hears at a gas station because he and most the elected city government don't like this councilor? And now the cost for the city for this childish game of "telephone" is now over $100,000?

You people wanted to become a city to do this? I suggest you sell the movie rights to Adam Sandler in order to re-coop the taxpayers' money. It'll make a great farce, though a bit unbelievable.

Ken Thompson said...

I suppose you could distill it down that way. Many do.

Alternatively you might say that a blogger posted some gas station gossip including information he was not supposed to have from someone who also wasn't supposed to have it because those that did have it were legally bound to keep it a secret and at least one someone didn't.

From there you can go one of two ways.

First, who cares? Is this sorority girl gossip worth gettin' yer knickers in a knot, let alone $100,000 and counting?

Or, you might suppose that legitimate government involves a system of rules and that these rules should be followed, particularly by those who made them in the first place. In this particular case we mean that very literally. Turns out they forgot to make up the rules for operating the ethics committee. Go figure.

If you're not paying for this happy horse hockey it might be amusing as the facts are not in question, at least not the damning ones, and it is only the "truth" that folks are arguing over.

Terence MacSwiney "Remember 1920" said...

Ever read Lillian Hellman's "The Children's Hour"? It's a story where a community pays heed to hateful gossip which ultimately destroyed two good women's professional careers and lives. Well this is Dunwoody's predicament now. They listened and acted on gas station gossip only because of who it was about.

Bob Turner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Turner said...

On a small note, what I find to be very sad, is that Centre County in Pennsylvania spent roughly $56,000 related to the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse trial and are looking for the State's Attorney General to reimburse them, but here, in our own little happy valley, we will spend well over $100,000 dollars because of service station gossip that was only meant to harm a political opponent who had the audacity to defy the good-old-boy network.

Shouldn't all the people in that Executive session have to take lie detector tests to determine if they shared any aspects of that meeting with their spouses or persons whom they felt were trusted friends? Must have occurred - happens all the time.

I'm sure if the good council woman had shared anything with this person it was also because she thought she was with a "trusted" friend, a "trusted" friend whom she could trust with house-sitting her very home with while she was out of the country, and never dreamed that within minutes her private conversation would be shared with the town muckraker, who had an axe to grind with the councilwoman, and one who is aligned with the good-old-boy network, and they would use this information to take their political enemy down.

Nothing nastier or meaner than small town politics and now proving to be very expensive to the small town's taxpayers.

On an even smaller note, I wonder if that service station has security camera footage of just how this little "coincidental" tete-a-tete played out?

Sounds a bit fishy that they just happened to meet each other at a gas station moments after the critical converation. Might be something the good council woman's attorneys will want to look into. As folks are wont to say in our fair town, "I'm just saying."

Terence MacSwiney "Remember 1920" said...

All good points, Mr. Turner, and you're not even getting paid $50,000 like the leak investigators did. It seems they only investigated the people they were directed to by the good old boy network, but I guess they had their orders.

Maybe her lawyers should even look into cellphone records before the gas station meeting as well to see how much of a coincidence it really was. I'm sure though that they trying to get as much exculpatory evidence for her as possible.

Ken Thompson said...

Mr. Turner,

Respectfully, THE "town muckraker" was Thaddeus. Dead but yet to be replaced. I believe the alleged culprit in this case goes by the moniker "Cranky Pants" and is one of many local curmudgeons aspiring to the throne. Also, I believe he would prefer that we address him as MISTER Cranky Pants.

Max said...

You are too modest, Mr. Thompson:


"John Heneghan said...

Blogger / Candidate Update...... Did I miss anyone who blogs on the Dunwoody political scene?

Thaddeus Osbourne Dabell of The Other Dunwoody may be gone but Ken Thompson is blogging in his place and is encouraging his readers who believe that the Dunwoody Police department is too large to take action in the next election. Is he now thinking of running? PS: Ken I was going to comment on your page but couldn't, I didn't pull any posts off my site. What was the subject I'll help you look. ..."

http://dunwoodynorth.blogspot.com/2009/06/do-dunwoody-bloggers-want-to-become.html





Sight Edman said...

Ahh...

Now we circle back 'round to "a blogger posted it so it must be true". Therefore what was posted, even by Farmer Bob, is true and we should be able to close the ethics case promptly. But let's hurry before someone posts something else.

Leslie Lim said...

You have done a great work. Thanks for making this blog. You helped me a lot on my research topic. Keep it up guys!

Kendra
www.imarksweb.org

lee woo said...

Love it! Very interesting topics, I hope the incoming comments and suggestion are equally positive. Thank you for sharing this information that is actually helpful.


ufgop.org
ufgop.org

Barbie Chiu said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for inspiring us. Keep it up and continue on what your doing. Visit my site too.

triciajoy.com

www.triciajoy.com

Cindy Dy said...


I like the way on how you put up your blogs. Wonderful and awesome. Hope to read more post from you in the future. Goodluck. Happy blogging!

Bubble
www.gofastek.com