A political battle is brewing in Snellville where several City Council members said Mayor Kelly Kautz has abused her power. It is a charge that she denies.
"It's a constant communication battle with the mayor," said Tom Witts, a council member and mayor pro tem.
The city recently agreed to give resident Marilyn Swinney $15,000 to settle a lawsuit she filed alleging the mayor violated her constitutional rights last July. Swinney tried to speak at a council meeting but the mayor told her she was out of order and had Swinney's microphone turned off.
"It is troubling," Witts told CBS Atlanta News. "The black eye on the city is more troubling to me. I understand it's been published now so now Snellville is a place where someone got their civil rights violated in many minds, and who wants to be known for that?"
Council members called an emergency meeting for Wednesday night to discuss the city charter and the powers that are designated to the council and the mayor.
"This is the teapot that's been steeping for a long time and it's come to full boil," said Councilman Bobby Howard. "It's time to get it and figure it out."
"It absolutely has to stop," agreed Councilman Dave Emanuel. "We have to get on with the business of the city and doing what's best for the citizens of Snellville. "
Kautz held a news conference at city hall Wednesday afternoon. The mayor said she has not abused her power and the infighting must stop.
"Enough is enough," said Kautz. "They've come to my home. They've harassed my husband. They've come to my place of work. They've harassed my father. They've defamed me personally. They've cost me employment."
Kautz sought an injunction to stop the emergency meeting that she claimed was illegal. Her request was denied by a judge Wednesday evening.
"Why? Why are they doing this?" Kautz asked. "What will it take to make the peace?"
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