Consultant recommends Stockbridge mayor be removed from office - CBS46 News

Consultant recommends Stockbridge mayor be removed from office

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STOCKBRIDGE, GA (CBS46) -

A law firm hired to investigate Stockbridge Mayor Lee Stuart presented its findings during a special meeting Monday. In his findings, attorney Chris Balch recommended council members remove Stuart from office.

Council members hired Balch to investigate allegations of misconduct by Stuart which may or may not involve violations of the city charter. Balch's firm interviewed 17 witnesses, which did not include Lee, and reviewed over 2,000 documents.

Balch suggested Lee committed these 7 violations:

Charge I: Violation of Charter § 2.17(a)(1) by attempting to monitor the email accounts of specified city employees without authorization and in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution

Charge II: Violation of Charter § 2.17(a)(1) by violating the civil rights of employees in violation of Title VII and the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Also violated Title VII in his response to an allegation of discrimination.

Charge III: Violation of Charter § 2.17(a)(6) by violating State law when he revealed and disclosed personal and confidential information protected from disclosure by the Georgia Open Records Act

Charge IV: Violation of Charter § 2.17(a)(1) and City Ordinance § 2.40.040 by obtaining confidential and personal information on city employees or applicants for city employment

Charge V: Violation of Charter §§ 3.22(4) and 2.17(a)(5) and (a)(6) by not submitting an annual budget for Fiscal Year 2013

Charge VI: Violation of Charter § 2.16(a)(3) and O.C.G.A. § 50-18-72(a)(25)(A) by disclosing security information concerning the Municipal Court which is made confidential by State law.

Charge VII: Violation of Charter § 2.16(1) by failing to adequately investigate the background of a consultant whose employment ultimately cost the City nearly $60,000.

Stuart denies the allegations. He told CBS Atlanta News he didn't do anything wrong.

"Mr. Balch made some wrong statements in his report, but we'll straighten all that out," said Stuart.

Stuart said council members don't like him because he is shaking things up.

"Go back and look at the history, nobody opposed this council. The mayor was unopposed for 30-plus years. All these people, this is an old good ol' boy system," said Stuart. "You look at the record of this council, they hid behind closed doors."

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