Interim City Attorney Resigns

Stuart Oberman submitted his resignation to the city of Snellville on Friday, February 24, 2012.

(Editor's Note: This article was originally published February 28, 2012.)

Stuart Oberman completed his last day as interim city attorney at the close of Monday's council meeting.

Oberman, who was appointed to the post in November, said he resigned after discussions with Mayor Kelly Kautz about her pending decision on a permanent city attorney.

"He said that if I was comfortable moving forward, then he's ready to tender his resignation," Kautz said.

The mayor plans to appoint permanent counsel soon, and Oberman said he wanted to "ease the transition" by stepping aside. Tendered Feb. 24, the resignation became effective at the end of the Monday city council meeting.

"It's been a great experience," he said, adding that the mayor and "certain members of council" were a pleasure to work with. 

Although the city has not paid him for the past three months, Oberman said that was not part of his reason for leaving. Still, Oberman said he would not consider a future position here. 

"Here? Here as in Snellville," he said. "No."

By now,  the city owes him upwards of $30,000 in unpaid invoices, and Oberman said he's considering how to best move forward regarding that, and whether to assess late fees.

"I do do charitable causes, but this is not one of them," he said Monday evening.

Several city council members, including Dave Emanuel and Tom Witts, have been especially vocal in opposing payment of Oberman's services. They have questioned Oberman's fees, qualifications and work.

So far, neither side has acquiesced. Even as late as Monday's council meeting, a motion failed regarding payment of the interim city attorney's bills.

"I don't think it's proper for the city to pay for services that were either incomplete, or one opinion put forth on one occasion and a contrary opinion put forth on another occasion," Emanuel said during Monday's council meeting. "I would like to resolve it."

He is hoping for a decision that is fair to all involved, but wants "value for the dollar spent."

Kautz said she does not think the saga of the unpaid bills will continue well into the future. She is hopeful that the city can work something out.

In the meantime, Kautz said she has narrowed her choices to two for the permanent city attorney position. Neither of the firms are located in Gwinnett County nor have political connections to the city of Snellville, she added.

"I'm happy (about) the caliber of applications that I got for this position, so thankfully, I think we're still getting very, well-qualified attorneys regardless of some of the shenanigans that have been going on in the city," the mayor said.

During the council meeting, Kautz thanked Oberman for his service, and she commended his work under pressure.

"Mr. Oberman's taken a beaten at times from this council and members of Snellville, and I want to thank him, and let him know that his work has not been unappreciated."

Asked whether he would consider being a municipal attorney again for any other government entity, Oberman said sure.

"If the opportunity arises, I certainly would," he said.

Michelle Couch February 28, 2012 at 05:24 PM
I am very sorry that Mr. Oberman, who has been a good friend of mine for over 15 years, found himself in the middle of such turmoil by simply agreeing to this interim position. I have worked with Stuart Oberman on projects in the past and also worked in his law office several years back while his paralegal was on maternity leave. I have never found him to be dismissive or incompetent in his work or work ethic. Though he may have lacked municipal experience, I feel positive that he did the best he could under the conditions in which he was dealt. I sincerely hope that, finally, the invoice will be reconciled so that everyone involved can move on.
Jan Snell Houston February 29, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Stu Baby IS the MAN!!!! Pay Him!!!!! Jan Snell Houston aka-Flo
John Hornbuckle February 29, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Big surprise here, as a citizen of Snellville I would like to apoligize to Mr. Oberman for the absolutly pitiful performance of the City Council. They are like a blacksheep relative or an annoying dog that the kids are attached to; were kind of stuck with them right now.


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