Power struggle costing Stockbridge - CBS46 News

Power struggle costing Stockbridge

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STOCKBRIDGE, GA (CBS46) -

A power struggle between the Stockbridge City Council and the mayor has already cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to those involved. They said the number is expected to go up.

"This has gotten to the ridiculous level of hundreds of thousands of dollars. I would have much rather put $400,000 worth of playground equipment out there," said Councilman Mark Alarcon.

"What did the judge rule? I was right. They have to pay my fees," said Mayor Lee Stuart.

This week a judge ordered the city to pay the mayor's recent legal fees of $8,500. The mayor took the City Council to court saying they stepped on his authority to appoint the city administrator. The judge sided with the mayor.

Previously, the mayor took the council to court over his veto power. The city paid those legal fees too.

"Twice now, I've had to take them to court and the judge ruled they were illegal," said Stuart. "As long as they don't follow the charter, we'll be at odds."

"He doesn't communicate ideas to the council. He has more of a military mindset," said Alarcon.

The rift between the council and mayor got so bad this summer that the council voted to censure the mayor.

"There's no relationship between this council and mayor," said Alarcon.

Some residents are more focused on the leaders just getting along. "When you look at the overall budget, it makes me wonder, are we talking about pennies or are we talking about dollars?" asked Anthony Starks, a resident. Resident George Gibson said, "Basically, handle the needs of the people."

The mayor expects to bill the city for another recent legal fight. A former city councilwoman filed an ethics complaint, which she dropped earlier this week. The mayor said he will ask the city to pay his attorney's fees to fight the allegations.

Another expense the city is incurring is for an investigator. The City Council hired an investigator to look into all the allegations, including the one filed by the former city councilwoman, made against the mayor.

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