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Resolution Passes to Take Legal Action Against George Anderson

The decision was not reached without controversy, and involves activist's "frivolous" ethics charges against councilman Tom Witts.

Editor's Note: This article was updated for clarification.

During the first few minutes of last night's council meeting, a few items were changed in the agenda.  Items B (changes to the charter) and E (contract with Knights Unlimited, Inc.) were moved to "new business" with no problem. 

There was a problem, however, when Mayor Pro Tem Tom Witts reminded the council that there was another agenda item that was supposed to have been moved.

“Madam Chair, I believe there was one more agenda change,” Witts said.  “Moving Anderson from public comment to item C.”

Mayor Kautz felt that change was “out of order,” despite the fact that had been discussed previously in the work session. 

The recommendation to move George Anderson's comments was originally made by city attorney Tony Powell.

“There’s one thing I would hope you would do," he said in the session that took place directly before the public council meeting.  "[Anderson] is now listed under public comments, and I think it would, from a procedural standpoint, be better to have him come up and then answer our questions at that point.” 

.  According to Dave Emanuel, he is using a false claim in order to have a platform for political speech.  In response, the council wants to file a declatory judgment against Anderson in order to see what their options are in defending Witts.  First, though, they planned to give Anderson time to speak and answer their questions. The timing of when he would speak was the subject of debate.  

When Mayor Kautz did address the change in schedule during the public portion of the council meeting, Witts spoke up.  

“Mr. Anderson will have the opportunity, as all the public will have the opportunity, to speak,"  she said. “Based on our public charter he does have that right."

Powell asserted during the council meeting that there does not seem to be a valid ethics claim in Anderson’s complaint against councilman Tom Witts. 

In the end, a motion passed to proceed with a declaratory judgment against George Anderson.  A declaratory judgment takes place when the plaintiff is in doubt of their legal rights.  Individuals may seek a declaratory judgement before action has been taken.  A judge will issue an opinion declaring the rights of the parties involved.  

Mayor Kautz and councilman Mike Sabbaugh were not in favor. 

“I’m not in support of this,” said Mayor Kautz, “and I will not as mayor sign off on the legal documents on this action.”

She does not believe that it is the taxpayer’s responsibility to foot the bill for an ethics investigation against a council member.   

“That’s a bigger conflict than any alleged violation in an ethics complaint,” Kautz said. 

She does not believe it would be proper for the city to spend taxpayer money to bring a personal situation of council members to superior court. 

Former councilmember Tod Warner disagreed, as did the rest of the council, minus Sabbaugh.  According to Warner, the charter protects councilmembers who are involved in an ethics charge, because “anyone can file a frivolous ethics complaint.”  Warner was in office when that policy was created.

“We didn’t want any current or future council member to have to continually take money out of their own pocket to defend frivolous claims,” said Warner.

Councilman Bobby Howard agreed. 

“We depend on our city attorney to give us good advice, and our attorney has advised us to do this,” he said. “So I support this.”

When it was time for Anderson to speak, he was nowhere to be found, even though he officially requested to be scheduled.    

For further reading:

lynchsales August 15, 2012 at 08:20 PM
George Anderson has filed hundreds of ethics complaints on innocent people. He is hired by political rivals to do this. I'll let the citizens on Snellville debate who would pay him to go after Mr Witts. Most of these complaints are false and the people are cleared later. Unfortunately the damage politically is usually done by that time and another victim of Anderson's own unethical behavior is left in the dust. He moves on to the next person he is paid to attack. Please note the link below on how he even sells out the one that hires him when it suits him (of course they've already sent the donation to his "nonprofit"). The nonprofit he admits he takes thousands out of each month for himself. You may also read in the link about his "boytoys" that intern with him. This man is a disgrace to all things he falsely claims to care about. He should be in jail for hurting so many decent people for money. Of course the city should pay for the expenses incurred by this serial complainer. If someone wants to know what caused the problem subpoena his nonprofits records to see who is Snellville "donated" to his nonprofit so he would attack Mr Witts. That would put someone with political motives on the spot. If you want to get to the root of the problem that's where it is. Follow the money. The link below will tell you everything you need to know about George Anderson and "Ethics in Government Group". http://www.topix.com/forum/city/blairsville-ga/THELA5AN6O2KTKLMN
Michelle Couch August 16, 2012 at 06:27 PM
My prayers are with Mr. Witts as he continues to deal with Mr. Anderson's attempts to flaw his character, and additionally the harm that comes to the City as a result of Mayor Kautz's supporters who I strongly suspect are ultimately behind all of this. I mean come on -it's not rocket science....
lynchsales August 17, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Michelle, I think you figured it out. Now let's expose the people that hired Anderson and expose him for the fraud he is.

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