Yeah, it’s becoming a folly over in Fort Oglethorpe. You may remember the shake up a couple of weeks ago where the city manager resigned and the city council appointed an interim manager. That manager subsequently fired the chief of police and the public works manager (who is also a sitting Catoosa County commissioner). There’s one problem though: the city manager turned in his resignation on that Friday, but it wasn’t effective until that following Monday. The interim manager didn’t have the official capacity until the following Monday when the resignation was effective.
People are, understandably, upset over the matter, but Mayor Lynn Long (no relation to former Public Works Director and Commissioner Jeff Long) said that the public’s anger towards the city’s elected officials is misplaced:
Mayor Long has said Jeff Long was fired because of a conflict of interest. Jeff Long was public works director for the city and also a commissioner on the Catoosa County Board of Commissioners. Jeff Long, as a commissioner, voted to de-annex a prime piece of commercial property from the city. The property, located on Battlefield Parkway and valued at more than $40 million, generated about $11,000 in property taxes annually for the city.
Mayor Long said the anger against the council and him is misplaced. He said they were trying to protect taxpayers. “The citizens elected the mayor and council to take care of the city and they should step back and let us do it,” he said.
“I am a public figure and they can say anything they want about me,” mayor Long said. “They are wanting to impeach or recall the mayor and council because the public works director took $11,000 out of the tax roll. Why are they not trying to recall a county commissioner for doing this? Mullis and this county commissioner (Jeff Long) are political buddies. This is just a political ploy (to divert attention away from the de-annexation of commercial property). Is this a witch hunt or what is best for the 9,300 people of Fort Oglethorpe?”
This matter hasn’t gone unnoticed either. A resolution to establish a study committee for the City of Fort Oglethorpe’s charter was filed in the Georgia Senate on Sine Die by Senator Jeff Mullis (R-53rd District). However, since the General Assembly adjourned Sine Die, I don’t believe that the resolution was adopted (at least not according to the status on the legislature’s legislation portal). Anyway, Senator Mullis said that the resolution wasn’t politically motivated and his office received a lot of phone calls from citizens upset over the matter:
…Never in his history of public service, he said, has there been such a heated and emotional cry from the citizens.
“The politics is all theirs (mayor and council),” Mullis said. “Firing good longtime employees is bad politics. I have never seen anything like this. Everywhere I go people ask me, ‘can you do something about this’ and not one person from Fort Oglethorpe is saying they support the mayor.”
As Drudge likes to say: Developing…